FDA Approves New Medication for Severe, Persistent Asthma

Updated on Monday, November 16, 2015

Early November the FDA approved a new medication for the treatment of severe, persistent asthma called Nucala (mepolizumab). It is an injectable medication that is given once a month in the doctor’s office. Nucala is indicated for people 12-years-old and over who have difficult asthma that is not controlled by their usual medications.

Asthma that is poorly controlled leads to frequent or daily symptoms of asthma including coughing, wheezing, chest tightness, and shortness of breath. Rescue medications such as Albuterol inhalers or Nebulizer treatments will be needed frequently, perhaps even several times a day. Normal daily activities will have to be reduced, exercise becomes difficult, and coughing or wheezing interrupts sleep.Nucala is a biologic type of medication that works by blocking a substance called Interleukin-5, which is a stimulator of growth for Eosinophils. Eosinophils are a particular type of white blood cell that contributes to allergic disease of the nose, eyes, skin, lungs, and esophagus.

If they are reduced in number, then Allergic Asthma becomes more easily controlled and the symptoms are reduced. In the three studies that were done with this injectable medication, it was noticed that patients receiving Nucala were hospitalized less, had a reduced need for oral steroids, and were able to reduce their daily asthma medications.

Side effects of Nucala were few, but included increased headaches, back ache, and injection-site discomfort among some patients.

If your asthma is not well controlled, make an appointment at one of the 18 Atlanta Allergy & Asthma locations. Let us evaluate your asthma and determine the best type of treatment for you.

Dr. David Carlton is board certified by the American Board of Allergy and Immunology as well as the American Board of Internal Medicine. He is a member of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology and the American College of Physicians. Dr. Carlton has a special interest in the medical management of sinusitis and treatment of venom hypersensitivity.