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Asthma drug reduces seasonal asthma

March 20, 2011 at 3:03 PM

DALLAS, March 20 (UPI) -- An anti-asthma medication dramatically reduced increases in seasonal asthma attacks in children and young adults with allergic asthma, a U.S. researcher says.

Study co-author Dr. Rebecca Gruchalla, chief of allergy and immunology at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, and colleagues at eight other academic medical institutions found that Xolair, or omalizumab, improved asthma control, nearly eliminated seasonal exacerbations and reduced the need for controller medication when used in concert with National Institutes of Health-based treatment guidelines.

The study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, found omalizumab binds to and inactivates IgE antibodies, which are the fuel in the immune system that perpetuates the asthmatic reaction.

The therapy is being used successfully in adults and adolescents who have allergic asthma, Gruchalla says.

"Those who received the drug experienced 25 percent fewer days with symptoms and a 30 percent reduction in asthma attacks," Gruchalla says in a statement.

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