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Mepolizumab

Generic Name: mepolizumab (MEP oh LIZ ue mab)
Brand Name: Nucala

Medically reviewed on December 27, 2017

What is mepolizumab?

See also: Advair

Mepolizumab is a monoclonal antibody that affects the actions of the body's immune system. Mepolizumab works by reducing levels of a certain type of white blood cell that may contribute to certain disorders.

Mepolizumab is used together with other medicines to help control severe asthma in adults and children who are at least 12 years old.

Mepolizumab is also used in adults to help control symptoms and reduce flares of a rare autoimmune disorder called eosinophilic granulomatosis with polyangiitis (EPGA).

Mepolizumab may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.

Important Information

Follow all directions on your medicine label and package. Tell each of your healthcare providers about all your medical conditions, allergies, and all medicines you use.

Before taking this medicine

You should not use mepolizumab if you are allergic to it.

To make sure mepolizumab is safe for you, tell your doctor if:

  • you also use steroid asthma medication;

  • you have a history of parasite infection (such as roundworms or tapeworms);

  • you have a history of herpes zoster (also called shingles); or

  • you have never had chickenpox or received a chickenpox (varicella) vaccine.

You may be given a zoster vaccine before you start using mepolizumab.

It is not known whether mepolizumab will harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.

If you are pregnant, your name may be listed on a pregnancy registry. This is to track the outcome of the pregnancy and to evaluate any effects of mepolizumab on the baby.

It is not known whether mepolizumab passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. Tell your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.

Mepolizumab is not approved for use by anyone younger than 12 years old. Mepolizumab should not be used to treat EPGA in anyone younger than 18 years old.

How is mepolizumab given?

Before you start treatment with mepolizumab, your doctor may perform tests to measure your levels of a certain type of white blood cell (eosinophils).

Follow all directions on your prescription label. Do not use this medicine in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended.

Mepolizumab is injected under the skin once every 4 weeks. You may be shown how to use injections at home. Do not give yourself this medicine if you do not understand how to use the injection and properly dispose of used needles and syringes.

Mepolizumab is not a rescue medicine. It will not work fast enough to treat an asthma attack. Use only a fast acting inhalation medicine for an asthma attack. Tell your doctor if it seems like your asthma medications don't work as well.

If you also use a steroid medication, do not stop using it suddenly or you may have unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. Talk with your doctor about tapering your steroid dose before stopping completely.

Mepolizumab is a powder medicine that must be mixed with a liquid (diluent) before using it. If you are using the injections at home, be sure you understand how to properly mix and store the medicine.

Gently swirl but do not shake the mixed medicine. Prepare your dose only when you are ready to give an injection. Do not use if the medicine has changed colors or has particles in it. Call your pharmacist for new medicine.

Each single-use vial (bottle) of this medicine is for one use only. Throw away after one use, even if there is still some medicine left in it after injecting your dose.

Use a disposable needle and syringe only once. Follow any state or local laws about throwing away used needles and syringes. Use a puncture-proof "sharps" disposal container (ask your pharmacist where to get one and how to throw it away). Keep this container out of the reach of children and pets.

Store unmixed mepolizumab at room temperature away from moisture, heat, and light.

After mixing this medicine, store it at room temperature and use within 8 hours. Do not freeze.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Call your doctor for instructions if you miss a dose of mepolizumab.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.

What should I avoid while using mepolizumab?

Follow your doctor's instructions about any restrictions on food, beverages, or activity.

Mepolizumab side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives, rash; wheezing, chest tightness, difficult breathing; feeling like you might pass out; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Call your doctor at once if you have:

  • unusual pain or tiredness;

  • burning or tingling anywhere in your body; or

  • a red or blistering skin rash.

Common side effects may include:

  • headache;

  • feeling weak or tired;

  • back pain; or

  • pain, swelling, redness, burning, or itching where the medicine was injected.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

See also: Side effects (in more detail)

Mepolizumab dosing information

Usual Adult Dose for Asthma -- Maintenance:

100 mg subcutaneously every 4 weeks

Comments:
-This drug should be administered in the upper arm, thigh, or abdomen.

Use: Add-on maintenance treatment for severe asthma with an eosinophilic phenotype

Usual Adult Dose for Wegener's Granulomatosis:

300 mg (as 3 separate 100 mg injections) subcutaneously every 4 weeks

Comments:
-This drug should be administered in the upper arm, thigh, or abdomen as 3 separate 100 mg injections at least 5 cm (approximately 2 inches) apart if more than 1 injection is administered at the same site.

Use: For eosinophilic granulomatosis with polyangiitis (EGPA)

Usual Pediatric Dose for Asthma -- Maintenance:

12 years or older:
100 mg subcutaneously every 4 weeks

Comments:
-This drug should be administered in the upper arm, thigh, or abdomen.

Use: Add-on maintenance therapy for severe asthma with an eosinophilic phenotype

What other drugs will affect mepolizumab?

Other drugs may interact with mepolizumab, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Tell your doctor about all your current medicines and any medicine you start or stop using.

Further information

Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

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