Nucala Offers a New Treatment for Severe Asthma

Roni Shye
Roni Shye, PharmD BCGP BCACP, is a licensed pharmacist in the states of Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.
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Many new inhaled medications have been approved to treat asthma, but the most recent approval from the FDA comes in a different form: Nucala (mepolizumab) is an injection given every four weeks by your doctor (or another health care provider).

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 1 in 12 Americans are affected by asthma. More effective treatments are more important than ever, and Nucala offers a new option for maintenance treatment in combination with other medications. This means you’ll use Nucala to prevent inflammation and “flare-ups”—not as a rescue medication during an asthma attack.

What is Nucala used for?
Nucala is an add-on maintenance treatment for patients 12 and older with severe asthma, and with airway inflammation due to white blood cells.

Is there anything unique about Nucala?

Yes. Nucala is not meant to be used alone. It will be given in addition your existing asthma medications. Nucala is also the first and only medication to target a specific cause of inflammation in asthma.

How is Nucala used?
Nucala will be given by your a health care provider as a subcutaneous injection in your upper arm, thigh, or stomach, once every 4 weeks.

How will Nucala be available?
Nucala will come in a single-use vial containing 100 mg of powder. It will need mixed by your health care provider before being injected.

What are the side effects of Nucala?

The most common side effects include headache, back pain, weakness, and injection site reactions like redness, itchiness, swelling, or pain.

When will Nucala be available?
Nucala was approved by the FDA on November 4, 2015, and is available now. However, you won’t be able to fill your prescription at your regular pharmacy—remember, the injection will need to be given by a health care provider.


Want more information?

You can also take a look at the announcement from the FDA regarding Nucala here.

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