·  Legal News, Analysis, & Commentary

Health & Medicine

Asthma Med Xolair May Help with Food Allergies

— March 19, 2024

Study shows omalizumab is effective for both asthmatics and those battling specific allergies.

Most of the time, a prescription drug is only going to do one thing, and hopefully do it well. Occasionally, however, there will be a drug that winds up not only safely dealing with one health issue, but also managing to at least improve another at the same time. Such is the case with omalizumab, which can be useful for treating both asthma and minimizing reactions from food allergies.

According to a recent study, the asthma medication, sold under the brand name Xolair, has been proven to work well for patients with asthma for some time, and it’s now being considered for food allergies well. For those with serious allergies, the fear of accidentally eating or ingesting something that could cause harm is a daily concern, so having some insurance in place in the form of this medication that could lessen the severity of the reaction would offer great peace of mind.

The new study was published in the New England Journal of Medicine and used 180 participants who had a range of food allergies – everyone in the study had a peanut allergy, and all participants had at least two more food allergies beyond peanuts. Of course, peanut allergies are known for their severe reactions, so this group made for an informative sample.

Asthma Med Xolair May Help with Food Allergies
Photo by Karolina Grabowska from Pexels

After receiving multiple injections of Xolair across several weeks, it was seen that the chances of a severe reaction went down in a large portion of the study’s population. Specifically, after 16 weeks, it was seen that 67% of the participants who had been receiving Xolair were able to tolerate some peanut protein effectively, while only 7% of the placebo group could do the same. This doesn’t mean that those who were treated with Xolair could suddenly eat peanuts or foods containing peanut products, but it did offer a meaningful degree of protection against accidental exposure – something that is a common experience and fear for those with this allergy.

As is often the case with prescription medications, there is a significant financial cost associated with the use of Xolair. The price of this drug can range from $2,900 a month to $5,000 a month, putting it out of the reach of many people and making it hard to get it approved through insurance. If it is ever going to be used more widely as a way to reduce food allergy reactions, it seems certain that the cost will need to become lower. Also, there is far more studies needed to understand how and why it works in this way, and what the long-term effects of ongoing use may be for those with food allergies.

Of course, those with serious food allergies are still going to need to be careful, pay attention to what they are eating, and avoid coming into contact with allergens when at all possible. With that said, the world is a complicated place, and mistakes happen. Knowing that there is something in their body that will offer additional protection and hopefully prevent an exposure from becoming too severe is wonderful news and may make life more enjoyable overall.


Omalizumab for the Treatment of Multiple Food Allergies

Asthma Drug Xolair Guards Against Severe Reactions in People With Food Allergies

New data shows asthma medicine may help reduce severe reactions in people with multiple food allergies

Join the conversation!