Commonly known as biologics or injectables
Includes medications such as Dupixent, Fasenra, Nucala, Xolair
HOW DO MONOCLONAL ANTIBODIES HELP SEVERE ASTHMA?
Biologic therapies are ground-breaking as they target pathways in the immune system that cause the problematic airway inflammation seen in asthma. They are indicated for use in severe eosinophilic asthma and severe allergic asthma.
Professor Peter Gibson says, “biologics therapies make a big difference, for example, a 50 per cent reduction in the rate of severe attacks. We expect to see reduced presentations for asthma attacks in severe asthma patients.”
ELIGIBILITY FOR MONOCLONAL ANTIBODIES
Monoclonal antibodies can only be prescribed and obtained from a specialist.
These medicines are subsidised for use by the PBS provided certain strict criteria are met.
To be eligible to start subsidised monoclonal antibody therapy under the PBS, a patient must be under the care of the same specialist for at least a six-month period. This can be less if they have received a diagnosis by a multidisciplinary asthma clinic team.
Reviews must be carried out by the specialist at set times for continuing PBS-funded treatment
HOW DO YOU TAKE MONOCLONAL ANTIBODIES?
Biologic therapies are delivered by injection every 2 to 8 weeks.
After treatment is started by a specialist, your ongoing doses can be given by your GP or Nurse. Some biologics are available as a pre-filled syringe for you to give yourself at home.
Access the Severe Asthma and COVID-19 resource for consumers and health professionals here.
WHY MIGHT YOU NEED MONOCLONAL ANTIBODIES
Monoclonal antibodies are for specific types of severe asthma. Severe asthma is asthma that remains uncontrolled despite high-dose combination preventer or maintenance oral corticosteroids, or that requires such treatment to prevent it becoming uncontrolled. Less than 4% of adults with asthma have severe asthma. Severe asthma is sometimes also called ‘severe refractory asthma’ or ‘severe treatment-resistant asthma’.
Your asthma special will conduct tests to figure out which monoclonal antibody will target your specific type of asthma. These might include:
- Blood tests
- Breathing tests
- Scans and investigations of the chest and lungs
- Skin prick testing
- Sputum testing.
POSSIBLE SIDE EFFECTS OF MONOCLONAL ANTIBODIES
- Bruising, redness, or pain at the injection site
- nasal, throat, or chest infection
- anaphylaxis (rare)
Please discuss all side effects with your doctor.