How does Fasenra work?
Asthma is often treated with a combination of medicines. Fasenra is used as an add-on in maintenance therapy of patients with severe asthma.
Fasenra is a biologic that is designed to target eosinophils, a key cause of severe asthma. Fasenra contains the active drug benralizumab, an ingredient that emulates a biologic. A biologic is made with of from parts of living organisms.
Fasenra works by attaching to the eosinophils, sending signals to other cells in your body to destroy them. By lowering the level of eosinophils in the body, the likelihood of inflammatory symptoms experienced with eosinophilic asthma is reduced. As a result, patients are less likely to experience eosinophilic asthma attacks, or may experience a decrease in severity of symptoms.
Fasenra is not a rescue medication for asthma attacks. Use of fast-acting inhalation medication (e.g. rescue inhalers) is still necessary for attacks. If a fast-acting medicine does not work, seek immediate medical attention.
Fasenra is administered via injection and used with other asthma medications to control severe asthma in adults and children at least 12 years of age. It comes in a single-dose pre-filled syringe, to be injected in the upper arm, thigh, or abdomen, by a healthcare provider.
A typical dose of Fasenra is 30 mg, delivered subcutaneously via injection once every four weeks for the first 3 doses, and once every 8 weeks following.
If your provider decides that you or a caregiver can give the injection, you should receive training on proper administration of Fasenra using the pen autoinjector. Be sure to follow your doctor’s instructions carefully when preparing and giving the injection.
Frequent tests may be required to help your provider determine the result of your treatment and how long you should take Fasenra.
Do not change your dose or schedule without consulting your medical provider first. Your dose may need changes due to surgery, illness, stress, or a recent asthma attack. Notify your provider if any of your medications seem to stop working.
Do not take more Fasenra than is prescribed. Given Fasenra is administered by a professional in a controlled medical setting, overdose is unlikely. If you are directed to administer this drug at home, be sure to follow the treatment schedule determined by your provider.
Contact your doctor for instructions if you miss an injection. They will advise the next best course of action and adjust your dosage schedule if needed.
Before taking Fasenra, tell your doctor about your medical history, allergies, all medications you are currently taking, and whether you are pregnant or breast-feeding.
Common side effects may include sore throat, fever, or headache. Injection site soreness might also occur following administration of Fasenra. These mild side effects tend to dissipate after a few days. If they worsen of become bothersome, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. Be sure to contact your doctor if you have new or worsening asthma symptoms after receiving Fasenra.
Keep in mind that side effects may vary from person to person, and can depend on variables like age, pre-existing health conditions, and other medications you may be taking.
If pregnant, follow your doctor’s instructions about taking this medicine. Forgoing asthma treatment while pregnant could cause harm to both mother and baby. If you are pregnant, breast-feeding, or plan to become pregnant, be sure to let your doctor know.
Serious allergic reactions to this drug are uncommon. However, if you noticed symptoms of an allergic reaction, such as: itchiness, rash, swelling/inflammation, dizziness, or trouble breathing, seek emergency help immediately.
Your doctor or pharmacist can advise more about the potential risks and benefits of taking Fasenra.
Warnings & Precautions
You should not take Fasenra if you are allergic to benralizumab.
Notify your doctor if you have ever had a parasitic infection like roundworms or tapeworms; or if you have used an oral or inhaled steroid medication.
Storage & Safety
Store your prescription at room temperature. Keep it away from light and high moisture (e.g. away from your bathroom). Keep all medications out of reach from children and pets.
Do not flush or pour medications down the toilet or drain (unless you are told to do so). If this product is no longer needed or expired, consult your pharmacist or local waste disposal company on how to properly discard your medication.
Fasenra may not be a good fit for you if you have certain conditions or other factors that affect your health. Before taking a new medication, be sure to consult with your provider on all other medications you are currently on. This includes supplements and over-the-counter medications, as they might have active ingredients that interact with the drug.
Other factors to discuss with your provider are whether you’ve had a parasitic infection or allergic reaction. It is not known whether Fasenra treatment affects one’s ability to fight parasitic infection. If you do have a parasitic infection, your doctor will likely try to treat this first before prescribing Fasenra.
Consulting with a medical professional can help limit unwanted side effects or drug interactions that may be very risky or even fatal. Be sure to keep a list of all the products you use and share it with your doctor or pharmacist so they can determine the right dosage for you.
There is no lower-cost generic alternative for Fasenra, but there are comparable medications which are used for maintenance treatment of asthma, including Dupixent, Singulair, and Montelukast.
Dupixent is another biologic medication that is made to treat for severe eosinophilic asthma in adults. Dupixent is also prescribed for treating conditions beyond eosinophilic asthma.
Singulair is used with other treatments for the maintenance treatment of asthma. It does not relieve immediate attacks and can cause neuropsychiatric effects in a small number of people.
Additionally, Montelukast may be used daily for maintenance treatment of asthma or allergic rhinitis. This medication will not relieve acute asthma attacks, and some experience unwanted neuropsychiatric effects on this drug.
To learn more about how these drugs are alike and different, consult your doctor or pharmacist. As always, be sure to bring a current list of medications and health conditions so they can advise the best, most beneficial course of treatment for you.