For many patients suffering from eosinophilic asthma, Fasenra is added to their medical regimen when other medications have failed to bring the disease under control. Asthma patients age 12 years and older who are diagnosed with severe eosinophilic asthma experience fewer severe attacks of asthma and report significant improvement in their breathing while using Fasenra.
Indications of Eosinophilic Asthma
Approximately 7 out of every 10 asthma patients are likely to have eosinophilic asthma (E-asthma), and the eosinophil phenotype can be diagnosed with a simple blood test. In eosinophilic asthma, lab tests will reveal an elevation in the eosinophil count (a type of white blood cell).
Eosinophils are part of the immune system which fights off diseases and infections, but may be activated by certain triggers including viruses, dust, dander, pollen, or mold. These activated eosinophils can exacerbate asthma symptoms. In the lungs and bronchial airways, inflammation, swelling, and mucus caused by high eosinophil levels may restrict airflow and trigger an asthma attack.
Signs and symptoms that may lead to a blood test confirmation of eosinophilic asthma include high levels of eosinophils in the blood, two or more severe attacks per year, and responding to treatment with systemic corticosteroids.
Frequent use of a rescue inhaler to control symptoms, awakening from sleep at night with exacerbation of symptoms, and requiring Emergency Room or Urgent Care intervention are also suggestive of the presence of eosinophilic asthma.
Additional clinical criteria may include:
- Asthma uncontrolled by routine asthma medications
- Late onset of asthma
- Allergic rhinitis symptoms
- Immunoglobulin E (IgE) in the normal to moderately-elevated range
- Low FEV-1 level with recurring airflow restriction
How Does Fasenra Work?
Interleukin-5 (IL-5) is a substance produced during the inflammatory response. This substance binds itself to the receptors on eosinophil cells and activates them, boosting their survival time and effectively helping them to live longer. Different ways to constrain eosinophil survival have been discovered. Binding to IL-5 can prevent the activation of eosinophils, resulting in fewer of these cells being produced.
Fasenra has a different approach for eliminating excess eosinophils. It has the distinction of being the only monoclonal, anti-eosinophilic antibody that directly binds to alpha, an IL-5 receptor, and draws in killer cells to induce cell death (apoptosis) without discharging inflammatory mediators.
The first three doses of Fasenra will be 30 mg administered at four-week intervals. Subsequent doses will be administered every eight weeks by subcutaneous injection into the abdomen, thigh or upper arm. A healthcare professional should administer the medication.
Potential Benefits of Fasenra
Clinical data confirms that Fasenra can decrease the incidence of asthma attacks by 51%. Overall lung function is improved, helping the patient breathe easier.
Fasenra can reduce the use of oral steroids by as much as 75%, and some patients may be able to discontinue oral steroids completely. Cessation of oral steroids or other asthma medications should be by physician order only.
From the first dose, Fasenra can increase an asthma patient’s quality of life by helping them breathe easier. Consult your physician for more information on Fasenra.
How Medicare Can Help Pay for Fasenra
Fasenra carries a list price of $4,895.74 per 30 mg/mL. Your out-of-pocket expense will depend on what type of insurance coverage you have.
If you have Original Medicare Part B, you will likely pay 20% of the Medicare approved cost as long as you visit a doctor and facility who accepts assignment. Many Original Medicare recipients choose to purchase a Medicare Supplement plan to help cover the costs that Original Medicare does not, including coinsurance and copayments.
If you are enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan, you will have at least the same benefits as Original Medicare Part A and Part B, but your plan may include additional coverage.