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

Medically reviewed by J. Stewart, BPharm Last updated on Jun 10, 2019.

What is Nucala?

See also: Dulera

Nucala (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.

Nucala is a subcutaneous injection given every four weeks that is used together with other medicines to help control severe asthma in adults and children who are at least 12 years old.

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

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 Nucala if you are allergic to mepolizumab.

To make sure Nucala 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 Nucala.

It is not known whether Nucala 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 Nucala 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.

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

How is Nucala given?

Use Nucala exactly as it was prescribed for you. Follow all directions on your prescription label. Do not use this medicine in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended.

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

Nucala 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.

When the injection is given by a patient or patient caregiver at home:

  • Nucala may be prescribed as a single-dose prefilled autoinjector or as a single-dose prefilled syringe.
  • Your healthcare provider will show you or your caregiver how to give the injections.
  • You should inject Nucala under your skin (subcutaneously) into your thigh or stomach (abdomen). Also, a caregiver may give the injection in your upper arm.

Nucala 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.

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.

Nucala dosing information

Usual Adult Dose of Nucala for Asthma -- Maintenance:

100 mg subcutaneously every 4 weeks

-This drug should be administered in the upper arm, thigh, or abdomen.
-The need for continued therapy with this drug should be assessed at least annually.

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

Usual Pediatric Dose for Asthma -- Maintenance:

12 years or older:
100 mg subcutaneously every 4 weeks

-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 happens if I miss a dose?

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

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 Nucala?

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

Nucala side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction to Nucala: 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 Nucala 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.

What other drugs will affect Nucala?

Tell your doctor about all your current medicines and any you start or stop using, especially:

  • an oral (taken by mouth) or inhaled steroid medicine.

Other drugs may interact with Nucala, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Tell each of your health care providers about all medicines you use now 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 Nucala only for the indication prescribed.

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