Background: Long-term oral corticosteroid (OCS) therapy is associated with significant burden on patients and healthcare resources; treatments that may help reduce their use are important to improve asthma management.
Methods: French and German clinicians prescribing omalizumab for >16 weeks to patients with severe persistent allergic asthma collected OCS use data. OCS use was recorded at baseline and at a non-specific time point beyond 16 weeks from initiation of omalizumab. The number of asthma exacerbations (FEV(1) < 60% of personal best, requiring OCS burst and unscheduled doctor/emergency visit or hospitalization) and asthma-related hospitalizations during the 12-months prior to omalizumab treatment and during the observation period were also recorded.
Results: Overall, 346 patients were treated with omalizumab for >16 weeks. Of these, 166 (48.0%) were receiving maintenance OCS (France, n = 64; Germany, n = 102). Following omalizumab therapy, 84 (50.6%) patients on OCS at baseline reduced/stopped OCS dose at the time of data collection; 34 (20.5%) stopped and 50 (30.1%) reduced OCS. In all patients receiving maintenance OCS at baseline, mean reduction from baseline in daily OCS dose was 29.6% (7.1 mg prednisolone). In patients who reduced/stopped maintenance OCS, mean reduction from baseline in daily OCS dose was 74.3% (15.4 mg prednisolone). Reductions in exacerbations and hospitalizations were observed from the 12-months prior to baseline in patients at the time of data collection, irrespective of change in OCS dose.
Conclusion: European real-life experience demonstrates the OCS-sparing potential of omalizumab in some patients with severe allergic (IgE-mediated) asthma.