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Allergies Health Center

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Studies: New Asthma Drug Safe, Effective

Xolair May Also Help With Year-Round Nasal Allergies

From Asthma to Allergies continued...

"This long-awaited drug is one of the most significant breakthroughs in allergic disease management in 30 years, and, although not a cure, will help us keep children with asthma on the playing fields and out of the hospitals," researcher William E. Berger, MD, said in a news release.

Xolair researcher Bobby Quentin Lanier, MD, tells WebMD he believes the drug has much broader uses than are reflected in its FDA approval. In addition to children with asthma, Xolair is being studied in patients with various food and other allergies.

Drugs are approved by the FDA for specific medical problems; however, doctors are free to prescribe a drug for other conditions. This practice is known as an "off-label use."

In a study of close to 300 people with year-round allergies, treatment with Xolair for four months significantly decreased nasal allergy symptoms compared with placebo. Use of antihistamines was also significantly less in the Xolair group. No safety concerns arose during the study.

Lanier says he believes compliance among asthma patients will be better with Xolair than with traditional treatments.

"I have been doing asthma trials for 30 years, and one question is always whether or not patients will keep taking a drug," he says. "In this case, the answer was a resounding yes. Compliance was incredibly high because people felt so much better on this drug."

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