Asthma Home > Xolair

Xolair is approved to prevent asthma attacks in people with allergic asthma when inhaled corticosteroids have failed to control the condition. It can also treat chronic idiopathic urticaria. The medication works by binding to certain antibodies to block the effects of allergic reactions, which can prevent asthma attacks. Your healthcare provider will administer the Xolair injection every two to four weeks. Side effects can include joint pain, body pain, and reactions at the injection site.

What Is Xolair?

Xolair® (omalizumab) is a prescription medication used to prevent asthma attacks in people with allergic asthma. It is approved for use in people whose asthma is not adequately controlled by inhaled corticosteroids. Allergic asthma is asthma that is associated with an allergen. Allergens -- which can include pollen, dust mites, or grass -- are substances that cause allergic reactions. Allergic asthma is confirmed by a skin or blood test.
Xolair is also approved to treat chronic idiopathic urticaria (a condition involving chronic, itchy hives that have no obvious cause) in people who still have symptoms despite treatment with antihistamines. 
(Click Xolair Uses for more information on what the medication is used for, including possible off-label uses.)

Who Makes Xolair?

It is made by Genentech, Inc.

How Does It Work?

Normally, air moves easily into and out of the lungs through a network of airways. However, when you have asthma, the inside walls of your airways are inflamed (swollen). This inflammation makes the airways very sensitive, and they tend to react strongly to things that you are allergic to or find irritating (see Asthma Triggers). When the airways react, a few things happen: the muscles around these airways tighten, inflammation inside the airways increases, and the cells inside the airways produce more mucus. These reactions narrow the airways and make it harder to breathe.
Xolair is an asthma medication that belongs to a group of drugs called monoclonal antibodies. These medicines are used to treat a wide variety of conditions (including asthma). Xolair works by binding to IgE antibodies. IgE antibodies play an important role in allergic reactions. Xolair can block the effects of allergic reactions by binding to IgE antibodies. By preventing allergic reactions, Xolair can help to prevent asthma attacks.
It is currently unknown how exactly Xolair works to treat chronic idiopathic urticaria. 
(Click Asthma Treatment for information about other medicines used for treating asthma.)
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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