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Tuesday, November 10, 2015

New medicine for severe asthma (Nucala)

For those of you who have asthma (or kids with asthma) you know that all asthma is NOT created equal. Son #2 had severe asthma, and had 8 hospitalizations (2 of those were close calls.....they had the "crash" cart parked outside his room!!)

He is one of the 10% of people with asthma who have severe asthma. He didn't seem to do well on asthma medicine. He took multiple medicines every day to try to control his allergy and asthma (and had 5 years of allergy shots). When he would get sick, he would take steroids (pills and shots) and STILL end up in the hospital. Sigh. It was a tough time for our family.

Asthma Doc started our son on Xolair injections. For our son,  it was the only thing that seemed to work to keep him out of the hospital. 

There is another option now for people who have severe asthma. GSK has a new medicine that was just approved by the FDA  

The FDA says: "Nucala reduces severe asthma attacks by reducing the levels of blood eosinophils- a type of white blood cell that contributes to the development of asthma."

They also say: "Compared with placebo, patients with severe asthma receiving Nucala had fewer exacerbations requiring hospitalization and/or emergency department visits, and a longer time to the first exacerbation. In addition, patients with severe asthma receiving Nucala experienced greater reductions in their daily maintenance oral corticosteroid dose, while maintaining asthma control compared with patients receiving placebo."  

Like Xolair, Nucala is a shot given once a month in a doctor's office. 

When my son was on Xolair injections, we had to fill out extra paperwork to get the insurance to cover the shots. Luckily, they did. I'm not sure what it will be like for Nucala. 

If you have severe asthma, ask your doctor which medicine is best for you. It seems like everyone is a little different when it comes to what asthma medicine works best. Sometimes insurance will only cover a certain medicine, so may have to work that out with your doctor and insurance company.

Anyway, just another option for treating asthma so we can be the best we can be!! :)


  1. Interesting. I wonder if impaired immune function is one of the side effects since it reduces eosinophils. Taking it with steroids would be a double whammy.

    1. Yes, I guess you have to weigh the good and the bad.

      I am soooooo careful right now. It seems like everyone around me is sick - I mean REALLY sick (and none of them have asthma!)

      I am washing my hands so much they are getting chapped!

      I'm just on my way to get my flu shot.

      Hope you can stay well this fall! :)