What is Nucala and how does it work?
Nucala is a prescription medicine used with other medicines:
- for add-on maintenance treatment of asthma in people 12 years of age and older whose asthma is not controlled with their current asthma medicines. Nucala helps prevent severe asthma attacks (exacerbations).
- for the treatment of adults with eosinophilic granulomatosis with polyangiitis (EGPA). Nucala helps reduce symptoms and flares, and it may allow your healthcare provider to reduce your oral corticosteroid medicine.
for the treatment of people 12 years of age and older with hypereosinophilic syndrome (HES). Nucala helps reduce symptoms and prevent flares.
- Medicines such as Nucala reduce blood eosinophils. Eosinophils are a type of white blood cells that may contribute to your disease.
- Nucala is not used to treat sudden breathing problems that occur with asthma.
It is not known if Nucala is safe and effective in children with severe asthma under 12 years of age.
It is not known if Nucala is safe and effective in children and adolescents with EGPA under 18 years of age.
Do not use Nucala if you are allergic to mepolizumab or any of the ingredients in Nucala.
What are the side effects of Nucala?
- Allergic (hypersensitivity) reactions, including anaphylaxis. Serious allergic reactions can happen after you get your Nucala injection. Allergic reactions can sometimes happen hours or days after you get a dose of Nucala. Tell your healthcare provider or get emergency help right away if you have any of the following symptoms of an allergic reaction:
- Herpes zoster infections. Herpes zoster infections that can cause shingles have happened in people who received Nucala.
These are not all the possible side effects of Nucala.
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
What is the dosage for Nucala?
Your healthcare provider will prescribe the dose that is right for you depending on what you are being treated for.
When injection is given by a healthcare provider:
- A healthcare provider will inject Nucala under your skin (subcutaneously) every 4 weeks.
When injection is given by a patient or patient caregiver with a prefilled syringe or prefilled autoinjector:
- Use Nucala every 4 weeks exactly as your healthcare provider tells you to.
- Read the Instructions for Use that comes with Nucala for instructions about the right way to give your injections at home.
- Nucala may be prescribed as a single-dose prefilled autoinjector or as a single-dose prefilled syringe.
- Before you use Nucala, 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.
- If you miss a dose, inject a dose as soon as possible. Then continue (resume) your injection on your regular dosing schedule. If you do not notice that you have missed a dose until it is time for your next scheduled dose, then inject the next scheduled dose as planned. If you are not sure when to inject Nucala, call your healthcare provider.
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What Drugs Interact with Nucala?
Formal drug interaction trials have not been performed with Nucala.
Notify your doctor if you are taking oral or inhaled corticosteroid medicines. Do not stop taking your corticosteroid medicines unless instructed by your healthcare provider. This may cause other symptoms that were controlled by the corticosteroid medicine to come back.
Is Nucala safe to take while pregnant or breastfeeding?
Before receiving Nucala, tell your healthcare provider about all of your medical conditions, including if you:
- Are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. It is not known
if Nucala may harm your unborn baby.
- Pregnancy Registry. There is a pregnancy registry for women with asthma who receive Nucala while pregnant. The purpose of the registry is to collect information about the health of you and your baby. You can talk to your healthcare provider about how to take part in this registry or you can get more information and register by calling 1-877-311-8972 or go to www.mothertobaby.org/asthma.
- Are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed. You and your healthcare provider should decide if you will use Nucala and breastfeed. You should not do both without talking with your healthcare provider first.
Nucala (mepolizumab) helps prevent severe asthma attacks. It also helps reduce flares of eosinophilic granulomatosis with polyangitis (EGPA).
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Related Disease Conditions
Asthma is a condition in which hyperreactive airways constrict and result in symptoms like wheezing, coughing, and shortness of breath. Causes of asthma include genetics, environmental factors, personal history of allergies, and other factors. Asthma is diagnosed by a physician based on a patient's family history and results from lung function tests and other exams. Inhaled corticosteroids (ICS) and long-acting bronchodilators (LABAs) are used in the treatment of asthma. Generally, the prognosis for a patient with asthma is good. Exposure to allergens found on farms may protect against asthma symptoms.
Granulomatosis With Polyangiitis
Granulomatosis with polyangiitis is a condition that usually affects young or middle-aged adults, is an inflammation of the arteries supplying blood to the sinuses, lungs, and kidneys. Symptoms of granulomatosis with polyangiitis include bloody sputum, fatigue, weight loss, joint pain, sinusitis, shortness of breath, and fever. Granulomatosis with polyangiitis may be fatal within months without treatment. Treatment aims to stop inflammation with high doses of prednisone and cyclophosphamide.
Asthma: Over the Counter Treatment
Patients who have infrequent, mild bouts of asthma attacks may use over-the-counter (OTC) medications to treat their asthma symptoms. OTC asthma medicines are limited to epinephrine and ephedrine. These OTC drugs are best used with the guidance of a physician, as there may be side effects and the drugs may not be very effective.
There are many unusual symptoms of asthma, including sighing, difficulty sleeping, anxiety, chronic cough, recurrent walking pneumonia, and rapid breathing. These symptoms may vary from individual to individual. These asthma complexities make it difficult to accurately diagnose and treat asthma.
Asthma in Children
Asthma in children manifests with symptoms such as coughing and wheezing. Rates of asthma in children are increasing. Asthma in children is usually diagnosed based on the description of symptoms. Lung function tests may also be used. A variety of medications are used for the treatment of childhood asthma.
Adult-onset asthma is asthma that is diagnosed in people over 20 years of age. Symptoms include wheezing, coughing, shortness of breath and difficulty breathing. Treatment may involve anti-inflammatory medications or bronchodilators.
Exercise-induced asthma is asthma triggered by vigorous exercise. Symptoms include coughing, shortness of breath, chest tightness, wheezing, and fatigue while exercising. Preventing exercise-induced asthma attacks involves using inhaled medicines before exercising, performing warm-up exercises and cooling down afterward, avoiding exercising outdoors when pollen counts are high, restricting exercise when you have a viral infection, and wearing a mask over your nose and mouth when exercising in cold weather.
There are two types of asthma medications: long-term control with anti-inflammatory drugs and quick relief from bronchodilators. Asthma medicines may be inhaled using a metered-dose inhaler or nebulizer or they may be taken orally. People with high blood pressure, diabetes, thyroid disease, or heart disease shouldn't take OTC asthma drugs like Primatene Mist and Bronkaid.
Occupational asthma is a type of asthma caused by exposure to a substance in the workplace. Symptoms and signs include wheezing, chest tightness, and shortness of breath. The usual treatment for occupational asthma involves removal from exposure and the use of bronchodilators and inhaled anti-inflammatory medicines.
COPD vs. Asthma (Differences and Similarities)
COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) and asthma both have common symptoms like coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, and a tight feeling in the chest. COPD is caused by tobacco smoking, while asthma is caused by your inherited genetic makeup and their interactions with the environment. Risk factors for asthma are obesity, exposure to cigarette smoke (even secondhand smoke), and personal history of hay fever. There is no cure for either disease, but symptoms can be managed with medication. A person with asthma has a better prognosis and life expectancy than someone with COPD.
What Are the Four Types of Asthma?
Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disease of the airways (bronchi). Bronchi generally allow for the passage of air in and out of the lungs. In asthma, these airways develop hypersensitivity, inflammation, and narrowing. This causes difficulty in breathing. The four types are mild intermittent, mild persistent, moderate persistent and severe persistent.
Can asthma go away?
Asthma is a long-term condition for many people, particularly if it first develops when you're an adult. In children, it sometimes goes away or improves during the teenage years, but can come back later in life.
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