Cinqair (reslizumab) received approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of severe asthma on Wednesday.

Under the said approval, patients 18 years old and above may take the drug together with other asthma medicines for the maintenance and treatment of severe asthma.

Such move allows asthmatic patients who have a history of severe attacks to have another supportive drug despite taking other existing therapies.

More Choices For Patients

"Health care providers and their patients with severe asthma now have another treatment option to consider when the disease is not well controlled by their current asthma therapies," says FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research Director Badrul Chowdhury.

How The FDA Decided

FDA tested the efficacy and safety of Cinqair by conducting four double-blind, placebo-controlled and randomized testing in individuals diagnosed with severe asthma and taking existing asthma medicines.

The patients received either Cinqair or placebo every four weeks as supplementary asthma treatment.

After the tests, experts found that those in the Cinqair group had lesser asthma attacks and a longer interval between the first and second attacks than those in the placebo group.

Patients who received Cinqair also exhibited notable improvements in lung function as manifested by the volume of air exhaled in a second.

Administration Of Cinqair

Cinqair works by decreasing the amount of blood eosinophils, a kind of white blood cell that plays a role in the occurrence of asthma.

Cinqair is given to patients by intravenous infusion only once every four weeks.

The drug, made by Teva Pharmaceuticals, should be administered by a medical professional in a clinical setting. This is to ensure that appropriate care and management is given if the patient suddenly shows an allergic reaction, which may be life-threatening.

During clinical trials, the most common side effects include muscle pain, severe allergy and cancer.

Asthma is a chronic condition that causes airways to be inflamed. Attacks are characterized by the narrowing of the airways; thus, resulting in patients having difficulty of breathing.

Although there are a few lucky ones who are able to spring into action before an attack happens with the help of devices such as asthma monitoring patches, some cases may become so severe that they require hospitalizations.

As of 2013, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that more than 22 million individuals in the U.S. have asthma. Aside from that, asthma-related hospitalizations have a rate of more than 400,000 every year.

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