Anaphylaxis, presenting as bronchospasm, hypotension, syncope, urticaria, and/or angioedema of the throat or tongue, has been reported with omalizumab administration. Anaphylaxis may occur at any time from the first dose to more than a year after omalizumab initiation. Closely monitor patients after omalizumab administration and prepare to manage any anaphylactic reactions .
Medically reviewed by Drugs.com. Last updated on Dec 18, 2018.
Commonly used brand name(s)
In the U.S.
Available Dosage Forms:
- Powder for Solution
Therapeutic Class: Antiasthma
Pharmacologic Class: Monoclonal Antibody
Uses for omalizumab
Omalizumab injection is used to treat moderate to severe persistent allergic asthma. It is used when a patient's asthma has not been controlled sufficiently on other asthma medicines. Omalizumab will not relieve an asthma attack that has already started.
Omalizumab injection is also used to treat chronic idiopathic urticaria (CIU) in patients who continue to have hives that are not controlled by an antihistamine (allergy medicine).
Omalizumab is a medicine called an IgE blocker. IgE is short for immunoglobulin E, a substance that occurs naturally in the body in small amounts. This substance plays an important role in allergic asthma. When people with allergic asthma breathe in a year-round allergen, such as cat or dog dander, their bodies make more IgE. This may cause a series of reactions in your body that can lead to asthma attacks and symptoms. Omalizumab works by helping to block IgE.
Omalizumab is to be given only by or under the direct supervision of your doctor.
Before using omalizumab
In deciding to use a medicine, the risks of taking the medicine must be weighed against the good it will do. This is a decision you and your doctor will make. For omalizumab, the following should be considered:
Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to omalizumab or any other medicines. Also tell your health care professional if you have any other types of allergies, such as to foods, dyes, preservatives, or animals. For non-prescription products, read the label or package ingredients carefully.
Use of omalizumab injection to treat asthma in children younger than 6 years of age and chronic idiopathic urticaria in children younger than 12 years of age is not recommended. Safety and efficacy have not been established.
Appropriate studies performed to date have not demonstrated geriatric-specific problems that would limit the usefulness of omalizumab injection in the elderly.
There are no adequate studies in women for determining infant risk when using this medication during breastfeeding. Weigh the potential benefits against the potential risks before taking this medication while breastfeeding.
Interactions with medicines
Although certain medicines should not be used together at all, in other cases two different medicines may be used together even if an interaction might occur. In these cases, your doctor may want to change the dose, or other precautions may be necessary. When you are receiving omalizumab, it is especially important that your healthcare professional know if you are taking any of the medicines listed below. The following interactions have been selected on the basis of their potential significance and are not necessarily all-inclusive.
Using omalizumab with any of the following medicines is usually not recommended, but may be required in some cases. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.
Interactions with food/tobacco/alcohol
Certain medicines should not be used at or around the time of eating food or eating certain types of food since interactions may occur. Using alcohol or tobacco with certain medicines may also cause interactions to occur. Discuss with your healthcare professional the use of your medicine with food, alcohol, or tobacco.
Other medical problems
The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of omalizumab. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:
- Allergy to latex or
- Asthma attack or
- Bronchospasm (breathing problem), acute or
- Other allergic conditions (besides asthma)—Should not be used in patients with these conditions.
- Cancer, or history of or
- Parasite infection—Use with caution. May make these conditions worse.
Proper use of omalizumab
A nurse or other trained health professional will give you or your child omalizumab in a medical facility. It is given as a shot under your skin, usually in the upper arms or thighs.
If you are receiving omalizumab for asthma, you will receive omalizumab once every 2 or 4 weeks. Your dose will be determined by your IgE level, which your doctor will measure with a simple blood test before treatment begins, and your body weight. Based on your dose, your doctor will also tell you if you will need 1, 2, or 3 injections per dose. If you need more than 1 injection, each will be given in a different place on your body.
Omalizumab is not a rescue medication and should not be used to treat sudden asthma attacks. It is not a substitute for the medicines you are already taking. Never suddenly stop taking, or change the dose of your inhaled steroids or any other asthma medicine you are taking unless your doctor tells you to do so.
If you are receiving omalizumab for chronic idiopathic urticaria, you will receive omalizumab every 4 weeks.
Omalizumab should come with a Medication Guide. Read and follow these instructions carefully. Ask your doctor if you have any questions.
Precautions while using omalizumab
It is very important that your doctor check your or your child's progress at regular visits. This will allow your doctor to see if the medicine is working properly and to decide if you should continue to receive it. Blood tests and other exams may be needed to check for unwanted effects.
If you stop receiving omalizumab injections, your symptoms can be expected to return.
You may not see immediate improvement in your asthma after omalizumab treatment begins. It takes time for the medicine to work. It is important to continue your omalizumab injections until your doctor tells you otherwise.
Omalizumab may cause a serious type of allergic reaction called anaphylaxis, which can be life-threatening and requires immediate medical attention. Tell your doctor right away if you or your child have a rash, cough, chest tightness, trouble breathing, lightheadedness, dizziness, fainting, rapid or weak heartbeat, anxiety, flushing, itching, hives, feeling warm, swelling of the throat or tongue, throat tightness, hoarseness, or trouble swallowing after receiving omalizumab.
A rare but serious condition called eosinophilia (increased white blood cells in the body) may occur while you are receiving omalizumab. A condition called vasculitis (inflammation of the blood vessels) may also be present. Eosinophilia can be serious and requires immediate medical attention. Tell your doctor right away if you or your child have worsening lung symptoms, rash or bruising of the skin, fever, chest pain, or burning, tingling, or numbness in the hands and feet after receiving omalizumab.
Your doctor will ask you or your child to remain at the healthcare facility or clinic for at least 2 hours after each injection to watch for immediate side effects that can be serious.
Some patients who are receiving omalizumab may have fever, rash, or muscle or joint pain. Tell your doctor right away if you or your child have any of these symptoms.
Using omalizumab may increase your risk of getting certain cancers or infections. Talk to your doctor if you or your child have concerns about this risk.
The needle cap of the prefilled syringe contains dry natural rubber (a derivative of latex), which may cause allergic reactions in people who are sensitive to latex. Tell your doctor if you have a latex allergy before receiving omalizumab.
Before you have any medical tests, tell the medical doctor in charge that you are taking omalizumab. The results of some tests may be affected by omalizumab.
Omalizumab side effects
Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.
Check with your doctor or nurse immediately if any of the following side effects occur:
- Blistering, crusting, irritation, itching, or reddening of the skin
- body produces substance that can bind to drug making it less effective or cause side effects
- difficulty with swallowing
- fast heartbeat
- hives, itching, or skin rash
- malignant tumor
- puffiness or swelling of the eyelids or around the eyes, face, lips, or tongue
- tightness in the chest
- unusual tiredness or weakness
Incidence not known
- Black, tarry stools
- bleeding gums
- blood in the urine or stools
- chest pain
- difficulty in moving
- muscle pain or stiffness
- pain in the joints
- painful or difficult urination
- pinpoint red spots on the skin
- sore throat
- sores, ulcers, or white spots on the lips or in the mouth
- swollen glands
- unusual bleeding or bruising
Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:
- Bleeding, blistering, burning, coldness, discoloration of skin, feeling of pressure, hives, infection, inflammation, itching, lumps, numbness, pain, rash, redness, scarring, soreness, stinging, swelling, tenderness, tingling, ulceration, or warmth at the injection site
- body aches or pain
- cold or flu-like symptoms
- dryness or soreness of the throat
- leg pain
- pain or tenderness around the eyes and cheekbones
- stuffy or runny nose
- voice changes
- Arm pain
- cracked, dry, or scaly skin
Incidence not known
- Hair loss
Other side effects not listed may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your healthcare professional.
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.
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More about omalizumab
- Side Effects
- During Pregnancy or Breastfeeding
- Dosage Information
- Drug Interactions
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- Drug class: other immunosuppressants
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