Asthma treatment now on PBS

New biologic to treat severe asthma heads new PBS listings

The first biologic medicine to treat severe allergic asthma in patients whose symptoms are inadequately controlled with high dose preventer medications is now available on the PBS for children aged six years and over.

Xolair (omalizumab) is a humanised monoclonal antibody for subcutaneous injection that selectively binds to immunoglobulin E (IgE), blocking the allergic cascade and reducing the frequency of allergic asthma exacerbations.

Over 52 weeks, the biologic has been shown to reduce the rate of clinically significant asthma exacerbations by 50% compared with placebo, when used in addition to high dose inhaled corticosteroid and long-acting beta-2 agonist therapy in children aged six to 11 years who had inadequately controlled severe allergic asthma.

Professor Nick Freezer, Medical Director at Monash Children’s Hospital, Melbourne, heralds the availability of Xolair as an important addition to the treatment options for younger children with severe allergic asthma.

“Xolair is an injectable medicine that blocks IgE1 – increased in response to allergen exposure – which may otherwise trigger asthma symptoms, including shortness of breath and wheezing,” said Professor Freezer.

“The therapy is already subsidised for patients aged 12 years and above2, but we will now be able to begin treatment in eligible children at a younger age, helping to meet a significant unmet need.”

Click here to see the full listings of December 1 PBS changes

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