Omalizumab in asthma: an update on recent developments

J Allergy Clin Immunol Pract. 2014 Sep-Oct;2(5):525-36.e1. doi: 10.1016/j.jaip.2014.03.010. Epub 2014 Jun 11.


IgE is central to the pathophysiology of allergic asthma. Omalizumab, a humanized anti-IgE mAb, specifically binds free IgE and interrupts the allergic cascade by preventing binding of IgE with its high-affinity FcεRI receptors on mast cells, antigen-presenting cells, and other inflammatory cells. The clinical efficacy of omalizumab has been well documented in a number of clinical trials that involve adults, adolescents, and children with moderate-to-severe and severe allergic asthma. In these studies, omalizumab reduced exacerbations, asthma symptoms, inhaled corticosteroid and rescue medication use, and improved quality of life relative to placebo or best standard of care. Similar benefits have been reported in observational studies in "real-world" populations of patients. Results from recent pooled data from randomized clinical trials and from a large prospective cohort study provide reassurance about the long-term safety of omalizumab. Omalizumab dosing is individualized according to body weight and serum-IgE level, and recent adjustments to the dosing algorithm in Europe have enabled more patients to be eligible for treatment. Ongoing and future research is investigating the optimal duration of therapy, accurate predictors of response to treatment, and efficacy in nonatopic asthma as well as other IgE-mediated conditions.

Keywords: Allergic asthma; Anti-IgE; Exacerbations; Omalizumab.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Allergic Agents / adverse effects
  • Anti-Allergic Agents / pharmacology
  • Anti-Allergic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Anti-Asthmatic Agents / adverse effects
  • Anti-Asthmatic Agents / pharmacology
  • Anti-Asthmatic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Antibodies, Anti-Idiotypic / adverse effects
  • Antibodies, Anti-Idiotypic / pharmacology
  • Antibodies, Anti-Idiotypic / therapeutic use*
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized / adverse effects
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized / pharmacology
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized / therapeutic use*
  • Asthma / drug therapy*
  • Asthma / immunology
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin E / immunology
  • Omalizumab


  • Anti-Allergic Agents
  • Anti-Asthmatic Agents
  • Antibodies, Anti-Idiotypic
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized
  • Omalizumab
  • Immunoglobulin E