Omalizumab is prescribed to prevent asthma attacks in people who have certain types of allergies (confirmed using a skin or blood test). The drug can also treat chronic hives. It works by binding to a certain type of antibody that can cause allergic reactions and lead to asthma attacks. Because of this action, the medication can prevent (but not cure) asthma attacks. It comes in the form of an injection that is given every two to four weeks.

What Is Omalizumab?

Omalizumab (Xolair®) is a prescription medication used to prevent asthma attacks in people with allergic asthma. It is approved for use in people whose asthma is not adequately controlled by inhaled corticosteroids. Allergic asthma is asthma that is associated with an allergen. Allergens -- which can include pollen, dust mites, or grass -- are substances that cause allergic reactions. Allergic asthma is confirmed by a skin or blood test.
Omalizumab is also approved to treat chronic idiopathic urticaria (a condition involving chronic, itchy hives that have no obvious cause) in people who still have symptoms despite treatment with antihistamines. 
(Click What Is Omalizumab Used For? for more information, including possible off-label uses.)

Are There Side Effects?

As with any medicine, side effects are possible with omalizumab. However, not everyone who takes it will experience problems. In fact, most people tolerate the medication well. If side effects do occur, in most cases, they are minor and either require no treatment or can easily be treated by you or your healthcare provider. Serious side effects are less common.
Common side effects of omalizumab include but are not limited to:
  • Injection site reactions (such as redness or pain near the injection site)
  • Joint pain
  • Body pain.
(Click Side Effects of Omalizumab to learn more, including potentially serious side effects you should report to your healthcare provider.)
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Omalizumab for Asthma

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