Patients may benefit from adding omalizumab(Xolair) to their asthma treatment ifthey have persistent asthma that is notbeing controlled. For the study, 419 patientswith acute asthma were randomly givenomalizumab or placebo for 28 weeks. All ofthe participants were taking high doses ofinhaled corticosteroids plus long-actingbeta2 agonists, and two thirds were alsoreceiving controller medications, including22% who were taking oral corticosteroids.
Reporting the findings during the recentannual meeting of the American Academyof Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, theresearchers found that omalizumab waslinked with a 26% reduction in the rate ofclinically significant asthma exacerbations,compared with placebo. Furthermore, themedication considerably lowered theoccurrence of severe asthma attacks andemergency room visits. Lead researcherPhillip Korenblat, MD, said omalizumab ledto "meaningful improvement"in asthmarelatedquality of life. Omalizumab "shouldbe considered in this group of patients withsevere persistent asthma who continue tohave unmet needs despite the best availabletherapy,"he added.