Rx Lowered Steroid Dose in Asthma Patients

Xolair lowered the required dose of oral corticosteroid in patients with allergic asthma

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD Beth Bolt, RPh

(RxWiki News) Oral corticosteroids are a common treatment for asthma, but they often come with unwanted side effects. One recent study showed that another medication may help patients lower their corticosteroid dose over time.

According to the authors of this recent study, long-term use of oral corticosteroids to treat allergic asthma can lead to diabetes, osteoporosis, hypertension and cataracts to name a few.

These researchers found a significant drop in oral corticosteroid dosage over 24 month in patients taking Xolair.

The study showed that most but not all patients taking Xolair were able to lower their dosage of oral corticosteroids.

"Discuss treatment alternatives with your doctor."

This study was led by Gert-Jan Braunstahl of the Department of Pulmonary Medicine, Sint Franciscus Gasthuis,  Rotterdam, The Netherlands.

Braunstahl and colleagues studied 943 patients from 14 countries in Europe, America and Asia over two years to determine the effectiveness of adding Xolair when treating allergic asthma with oral corticosteroids.

Data was collected at six weeks and at eight, 12, 18 and 24 months after initiation of Xolair treatment for both male and female patients.

These researchers analyzed data for changes in dosage after patients entered the study.

Response to Xolair was determined using the physician’s Global Evaluation of Treatment Effectiveness (GETE) after the initial treatment.

The researchers explained that oral corticosteroids are commonly given to patients with severe and persistent allergic asthma but have a wide variety of side effects. This study looked into the effectiveness of Xolair in lowering oral corticosteroid dosage over a two-year period.

Among patients who responded favorably to Xolair, the proportion of patients on maintenance steroids decreased from 28.1 percent at the start of the program to 13.8 percent at month 12, with an additional decrease to 12.1 percent at month 24.

The researchers believe that lowering the dosage of oral corticosteroids may prevent or reduce the side effects caused by these medications.

This study was published on December 4 in Allergy, Asthma & Clinical Immunology.

The registry was sponsored by Novartis Pharma AG. The authors were assisted in the preparation of the manuscript by Dr. Madhavi Dokku (Novartis). Writing support was funded by the registry sponsor.

Braunstahl has received grant/research support for consultations and/or speaking at conferences from Novartis, GSK, AstraZeneca and MSD. JC has received lecture fees from Novartis, and has been an investigator in studies sponsored by several other pharmaceutical companies. C-WC and GP are Novartis employees.

Review Date: 
December 9, 2013
Last Updated:
December 10, 2013