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Dupixent – This New Drug Squashes Severe Asthma Symptoms
Dupixent is a relatively new drug that has been made available to those who have asthma. You may know it from its use as a medication to treat eczema, but in 2018, the FDA approved it for asthma. The medication may also be used to treat chronic rhinosinusitis with nasal polyposis.
While it has many applications, Dupixent is highly useful for those with specific types of uncontrolled asthma. Those who have oral corticosteroid-dependent asthma and those with eosinophilic phenotype asthma can both benefit from the use of Dupixent in combination with other medications.
Twenty-five million Americans are living with asthma. While nearly half of these are children, around 8% of adults suffer from this disease. Asthma is a disease that can be deadly, and it is considered to be one of the most common diseases in America. With no cure, asthma can only be managed, and sometimes that can be difficult. Dupixent is now available to benefit those who deal with severe attacks and need some extra help.
How Dupixent Works
Dupixent (generically known as dupilumab) can be used as a maintenance medication and is frequently prescribed with regular medications to treat moderate to severe asthma. As a monoclonal antibody, this drug works to protect the body from asthma.
As the only biologic available for the two types of asthma it is effective for, Dupixent is highly useful. It’s also quite different from other types of biologics, as it prevents inflammation before it occurs and before it can create an asthmatic response. By controlling the production of the inflammation proteins interleukin four and interleukin 13, the drug inhibits the potential inflammation. It reduces the number of inflammatory biomarkers that are commonly found during an asthma attack. These inflammatory biomarkers include immunoglobulin E, eotaxin-3, and nitric oxide.
By regularly inhibiting the inflammation, Dupixent can halt the development of a severe asthma attack. However, it’s not for emergency use. You can’t inject it in the middle of an attack and expect the asthma symptoms to stop. The drug takes time and must be regularly in your system to fight off asthma and prevent major attacks.
Using Dupixent With Other Asthma Drugs
In most cases, Dupixent injections are used alongside other types of asthma drugs. In severe cases, it’s essential to have multiple options for treating this disease. After all, ten people die from asthma every day in the U.S., so anything that can be done to help prevent this is a must.
You may continue using your inhaler while you take Dupixent. Inhalers with oral corticosteroids are an essential part of improving breathing. Still, you may find that you need your inhaler far less once your body has adjusted to the new medication. Your doctor will determine if you should take another type of drug while on this one, which may improve breathing outcomes. It’s also important to note that you should talk to your doctor if there are any adverse effects or if your asthma gets worse, as it may need a different type of medication.
Who Can Use Dupixent?
Dupixent has been studied in children ages 6–11 and adults or those over 12 years of age. The drug has been approved for these age groups.
Patients who use Dupixent tend to have a better quality of life. In many cases, they may enjoy a better quality of life without the frequent flare-ups, which can be difficult if they have severe asthma. Over time, the drug may even improve lung function overall.
First, this drug is injected, which may put some people off. The Dupixent injection is subcutaneous and comes in a pre-filled pen or syringe. If you are using the pen, you must be over 12 years of age, though most doctors will recommend that only people over 12 years of age should use Dupixent.
It is possible to administer the drug to those younger than 12, but a doctor should closely monitor this. Dosages will change drastically for younger children.
Adults start with two 200 mg injections and then have 200 mg injected every other week. In some cases, the initial dose will be two 300 mg injections and then 300 mg every other week. If you suffer from atopic dermatitis or eczema in addition to asthma, you will probably be on the higher dosage.
What Are Dupixent Side Effects?
As with any drug, there are some side effectsto consider when deciding whether to take it. It’s important to change injection sites frequently to avoid scarring. For those injecting themselves, the thigh and abdomen are recommended.
Injection site reactions: This is a common side effect whereby the area injected may turn red, swell up or form a lump, and hurt. Swelling isn’t life-threatening but can be unpleasant. It’s also more likely to occur if you are taking the higher-dose Dupixent injection.
Pain: The oropharynx or the area at the back of your tongue and the soft palate, as well as your tonsils, can become sore during treatment. A small percentage of people had pain from this when they were in treatment.
Eosinophilia: Your body naturally produces these white blood cells, which may increase slightly when reacting to the injection. However, this is not too dangerous levels.
Other potential side effects include:
- Eyelid inflammation
- Cold sores on the lips and in the mouth
- Itchy or dry eyes
- Keratitis (corneal inflammation)
None of these is common, and they’re not life-threatening. However, a few people have chosen to stop the therapy due to their discomfort from the side effects.
Overall, Dupixent is a potential breakthrough in the world of asthma treatments. Designed to keep inflammation at bay and prevent major attacks before they happen, it may be the revolutionary new medication you’ve been waiting for. With minimal side effects and an impressive track record, you’ll want to talk to your doctor about trying it if you have severe asthma.