Xolair For Food Allergies

How is Xolair administered?
– Xolair is given by subcutaneous injection either in our clinic or possibly at home, every 2-4 weeks depending on dosing. To be effective, Xolair must be continued as prescribed.

Are there side effects? What are the costs of this therapy?
-Xolair has been in use for asthma and chronic urticaria (hives) for 20+ years and is generally considered to be a safe medication. The most common side effects are injection site reactions and fever. Rarely, patients can have anaphylaxis to Xolair, so patients on Xolair typically will be monitored after the first several injections and will be prescribed injectable epinephrine.
Xolair is often covered by insurance, but as with any biologic, is an expensive medication. Copays may vary, as will insurance coverage.

Who is a candidate for Xolair?
– While many food allergy patients are technically candidates for Xolair, patients with a history of anaphylaxis, severe reactions to trace allergen amounts, aerosolized allergy, multi food allergy patients, teenagers and patients unable to tolerate desensitization are likely to be optimal candidates. Additionally, patients must be over age 1 and have an IgE level between 30 and 1850 to qualify for dosing.

Is Xolair a cure for food allergy?
-Xolair is NOT a cure for food allergy. Patients on Xolair must continue to avoid their food allergen triggers and carry injectable epinephrine. Xolair is only effective if taken regularly and does not provide permanent tolerance/unrestricted eating of previously allergenic foods. Food challenges may be required to determine the efficacy of Xolair after several months of administration.

What is the difference between Xolair and desensitization/oral immunotherapy (OIT)?
-Both Xolair and OIT are considered to be treatments for food allergy and not curative. While Xolair is regular (every 2-4 week) injections of anti IgE antibody, OIT involves daily ingestion of allergenic foods. Both treatments are only affective as long as they are adhered to, and neither method has been shown to reliably result in remission (cure of food allergy). There is some evidence that both will be approved to be used together, but these data are not yet available. =

We are interested in oral immunotherapy (OIT) for food allergy. Do you offer this?
-At this time, our office offers desensitization options for milk and egg which are curative. While we may expand these options in the future, please speak with your allergist about OIT and we will refer you to a clinic offering additional options.

In summary, we are excited to be able to offer Xolair as a treatment for food allergy. Please set up an appointment to discuss these options with your allergist if you have any questions or concerns.