Precautions and Warnings With Omalizumab

A few precautions and warnings with omalizumab to be aware of include the safety of taking the drug while pregnant, the risk of severe allergic reactions in some people who take it, and people who shouldn't take it at all (such as those who are allergic to omalizumab or any component used to make it). Among the conditions you should tell your healthcare provider about before taking omalizumab are eczema, osteoporosis, and cataracts. You should also tell your healthcare provider about all other drugs you are taking.

Omalizumab: What Should I Tell My Healthcare Provider?

You should talk with your healthcare provider prior to taking omalizumab (Xolair®) if you have:
 
  • Plans to travel to an area with a high risk for parasitic infections
  • Any allergies, including allergies to food, dyes, or preservatives.

 

Also let your healthcare provider know if you are:
 
  • Pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant
  • Breastfeeding.
     
You should also make sure to tell your healthcare provider about all of the medicines you take, including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.
 

Some Precautions and Warnings With Omalizumab

Some warnings and precautions to be aware of with omalizumab include the following:
 
  • Omalizumab can cause severe allergic reactions in some people. These allergic reactions can occur with the first or any subsequent omalizumab doses. Your healthcare provider may want to watch you for a while after each injection.
     
  • In previous clinical studies, omalizumab increased the risk of cancer. Up to 0.5 percent of people taking omalizumab developed cancer, compared to 0.2 percent of those not taking omalizumab.
     
  • You should not stop or decrease any of your other asthma medications when you first start omalizumab unless your healthcare provider instructs you otherwise.
     
  • Omalizumab is not a fast-acting asthma medication and cannot replace fast-acting rescue inhalers. Everyone taking omalizumab should also have a rescue asthma medication available at all times. Let your healthcare provider know if you need to use your rescue inhaler more frequently than usual, as this may be a sign that your asthma is getting worse.
     
  • Omalizumab can immediately make your asthma symptoms worse. If this happens, use your rescue inhaler (such as albuterol) as needed and contact your healthcare provider for further instruction.
     
  • One study in Brazil suggested that people taking omalizumab have a higher risk of parasitic infections. Talk with your healthcare provider if you live in (or will be traveling to) areas that have a higher risk of parasites.
     
  • Omalizumab is considered a pregnancy Category B medication. This means that omalizumab is probably safe to use during pregnancy, though the full risks of taking this medicine during pregnancy are not known. Talk with your healthcare provider about the risks and benefits of using omalizumab during pregnancy (see Xolair and Pregnancy for more information).
     
  • It is not known if omalizumab passes through breast milk. Therefore, if you are breastfeeding or plan to start breastfeeding, be sure to talk with your healthcare provider about using omalizumab (see Xolair and Breastfeeding for more information).
     
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