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Biologics are types of medications developed from living organisms, such as humans, animals, plants or bacteria. They are used to treat various conditions, including many forms of cancer and autoimmune diseases. These advanced treatments involve a variety of vaccines, gene or steroid hormone therapies, blood components, proteins (insulin), tissues for transplantation, antitoxins, and more.

Effective biologic therapies are now available to treat some persistent, chronic, and poorly controlled allergic conditions. Unlike traditional medications that may affect the entire immune system, biologics only target certain cells and pathways of the immune system.

ASTHMA. Biologics can help patients with moderate to severe persistent asthma. Biologic therapy can accurately target and block immune cells, proteins, and receptors that cause inflammation in the lungs. Depending on a type of asthma –– allergic or eosinophilic, the following biologics can be used: omalizumab, mepolizumab, reslizumab, and benralizumab.

URTICARIA. Antihistamines are the first-line therapy to treat chronic urticaria characterized by the recurrent appearance of itchy hives and sometimes angioedema for greater than 6 weeks. While antihistamines help some people, a significant number of patients (nearly 50%) couldn’t adequately control their symptoms despite treatment. Biologics are possible beneficial options for patients with chronic urticaria. Omalizumab is FDA approved treatment for patients with chronic idiopathic urticaria.

ATOPIC DERMATITIS. This most common form of eczema is a lifelong condition. It involves rashes and an intensely itchy skin that may be hard to control with the use of conventional topical treatments. Dupilumab is FDA approved biologic medication to treat moderate and severe AD in adults. Treatment is efficient in controlling pruritus, eczema and the severity of flare-ups and has fewer side-effects.

If you think that traditional treatments to control allergic conditions aren’t working for you, talk to your doctor about biologic therapies.

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