Here’s some good news for people with severe asthma.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Tezspire (tezepelumab-ekko), an injectable drug that helps control severe asthma, according to Drugs.com.
The drug, developed by AstraZeneca and Amgen, would be given once every four weeks under the supervision of a medical professional.
Tezspire is considered an add-on treatment meant to control severe asthma in people who fail to respond to current medications. Those who are advised the drug would continue to use other asthma treatments.
Tezspire is a unique drug because it is not limited to a specific type of severe asthma. It has been found to target only one type of molecule involved in airway inflammation.
Pulmonologist Dr. Len Horovitz of Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City said, “There are several monoclonal antibody treatments for asthma mediated by eosinophils. Tezspire attacks a different molecule, so acts on a different pathway. It may have utility in a wide variety of asthmatics.”
The FDA’s approval is based on the findings of two clinical trials that demonstrated the drug was safe and effective in controlling severe asthma.
In the trials, participants received either Tezspire or the placebo every four weeks for a year. It was found that people who used the drug had fewer asthma attacks, including fewer attacks that led to ER visits and/or hospitalization.
It is important to note that patients who are prescribed Tezspire should not stop using their inhaled or systemic corticosteroid asthma treatments. The FDA said, “Any reductions should be gradual and under the direct supervision of a health care professional.”
The agency also said that people with preexisting helminth (parasitic) infections should be treated before starting Tezspire. Those who start taking this drug should not have live vaccines, including measles-mumps-rubella (MMR), smallpox, and rotavirus vaccines.
Tezspire should not be used to treat short-term asthma symptoms or attacks.
In the United States, about 5% to 10% of people with asthma have severe asthma – a respiratory disease that affects the airways in the lungs.
In asthma, the airways become swollen or inflamed due to certain triggers, such as allergens, irritants, dust, or viral infections. Symptoms of asthma include breathlessness, wheezing, coughing, and chest tightness. A severe attack of asthma could be intense and life-threatening.