Generic name: omalizumab [ OH-ma-LIZ-oo-mab ]
Brand names: Xolair Prefilled Syringe
Dosage forms: Subcutaneous powder for injection, subcutaneous solution
Drug class: Selective immunosuppressants


In modern medicine, breakthroughs often come in innovative treatments that address previously untreatable conditions. Omalizumab, a medication with a unique mechanism of action, is the ultimate cure for various allergic disorders. Lets learn more about Omalizumab, explore its uses, and discover other details.

What is Omalizumab?

Omalizumab, marketed under the brand name Xolair, is a monoclonal antibody that targets immunoglobulin E (IgE). IgE is an antibody that plays a crucial role in allergic reactions. By binding to IgE, Omalizumab prevents it from attaching to mast cells and basophils, thereby reducing the release of inflammatory mediators and alleviating allergic symptoms.

Uses of Omalizumab


Omalizumab is primarily indicated for treating moderate to severe allergic asthma in patients whose symptoms are inadequately controlled by conventional therapies.

Chronic Idiopathic Urticaria (CIU)

CIU, also known as chronic spontaneous urticaria, is a condition characterized by the recurrent appearance of hives without an identifiable cause. Omalizumab has shown efficacy in managing CIU symptoms.\

Must Read: Dealing with Allergies: Symptoms, Treatment & Management

Allergic Rhinitis

Omalizumab can relieve nasal congestion, itching, and sneezing in individuals with allergic rhinitis inadequately managed by other treatments.

Allergic Conjunctivitis

Omalizumab has demonstrated efficacy in reducing the symptoms of allergic conjunctivitis, such as redness, itching, and tearing.

Food Allergies

While still under investigation, Omalizumab shows promise in treating specific food allergies, particularly peanut allergies, by reducing the severity of allergic reactions upon exposure.

How Should You Administer Omalizumab?

Omalizumab is administered via subcutaneous injection. The dosage and frequency of injections are determined by factors such as the patient's weight and IgE levels. Typically, it is initially administered in a healthcare setting under supervision to monitor for any adverse reactions. Subsequent injections may be self-administered by patients once they are trained in the proper technique.

Learn More: Drug Allergy - Allergic Reactions, Symptoms & Treatment

Side Effects of Omalizumab


This severe allergic reaction is Omalizumab's most concerning side effect. Anaphylaxis can present with symptoms such as difficulty breathing, swelling of the face, tongue, or throat, hives, itching, and low blood pressure.


While rare, cases of cancer have been reported in patients receiving Omalizumab. These include breast cancer, skin cancer, and other malignancies.

Cardiovascular Events

Some patients may experience cardiovascular events such as heart attacks or strokes while taking Omalizumab, particularly those with pre-existing cardiovascular disease.

Neuropsychiatric Events

Omalizumab has been associated with mood changes, including depression and suicidal ideation. Patients and their caregivers should be vigilant for any changes in mood or behavior and seek medical attention if they occur.

Hypersensitivity Reactions

In addition to anaphylaxis, hypersensitivity reactions such as rash, itching, and urticaria (hives) may occur. 


Omalizumab has the potential to decrease platelet count, leading to thrombocytopenia. This can increase the risk of bleeding, bruising, and prolonged bleeding time.


Omalizumab may increase eosinophils, a type of white blood cell involved in allergic responses. While eosinophilia is not always harmful, excessively high levels can lead to inflammation and tissue damage.


Rare cases of hepatitis, characterized by elevated liver enzymes and jaundice, have been reported in patients receiving Omalizumab. Check for signs of liver dysfunction, such as abdominal pain, dark urine, and yellowing of the skin or eyes.

Injection Site Sarcoma

Cases of sarcoma at the injection site have been reported with Omalizumab use. Patients should promptly report any unusual lumps, swelling, or skin changes.

Ocular Effects

Omalizumab may cause ocular effects such as blurred vision, conjunctivitis (pink eye), and eye pain. 

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Warnings for Omalizumab


Patients should be closely monitored for signs of anaphylaxis during and after administration of Omalizumab. If symptoms occur, emergency medical attention should be sought immediately.


The potential risk of malignancies should be weighed against the expected benefits of Omalizumab therapy, particularly in patients with a history of cancer or at increased risk of malignancy.

Cardiovascular Events

Patients with pre-existing cardiovascular disease should be monitored for cardiovascular events while receiving Omalizumab.

Neuropsychiatric Events

Patients should be monitored for changes in mood or behavior, particularly during the early stages of treatment with Omalizumab.

Pregnancy and Lactation

The safety of Omalizumab during pregnancy and lactation has not been established. Healthcare providers should carefully consider the potential risks and benefits before prescribing Omalizumab to pregnant or breastfeeding women.

Before Taking This Medicine

Before starting Omalizumab therapy, patients should inform their healthcare provider about any existing medical conditions, allergies, or medications they are taking. Additionally, patients should be educated about the signs and symptoms of anaphylaxis and instructed on how to respond to an allergic reaction.

Other Drugs That Affect Omalizumab

  1. Corticosteroids: Concurrent use of corticosteroids may potentiate the immunosuppressive effects of Omalizumab and increase the risk of infections.
  2. Immunosuppressants: Drugs that suppress the immune system, such as methotrexate or cyclosporine, may interfere with the therapeutic effects of Omalizumab.
  3. Live Vaccines: Omalizumab may reduce the efficacy of live vaccines, so they should be avoided during treatment.

Interactions with Omalizumab

  1. Allergen Immunotherapy: Omalizumab may enhance the efficacy of allergen immunotherapy by reducing the allergic response to environmental allergens.
  2. Anti-IgE Therapy: Concurrent use of other anti-IgE therapies may increase the risk of adverse effects and should be avoided.
  3. Biologic Agents: The concurrent use of biologic agents targeting other inflammatory pathways may increase the risk of immunosuppression and infections.
  4. Beta-Adrenergic Agonists: Omalizumab may potentiate the effects of beta-adrenergic agonists used to relieve bronchospasm in asthma.
  5. Antihistamines: Omalizumab may reduce the need for antihistamines in patients with allergic rhinitis or chronic urticaria by decreasing IgE-mediated allergic responses.

Also Read: Understanding Everything About The Bee Sting Allergies


Omalizumab represents a significant advancement in managing allergic disorders, relieving patients who have not responded to conventional therapies. However, like all medications, it carries potential risks and side effects that must be carefully considered. Healthcare providers and patients can make informed decisions about its use in treating allergic conditions by understanding its uses, administration, side effects, warnings, and interactions.


How long does it take for Omalizumab to work?

The onset of action of Omalizumab varies among individuals but may be observed within a few days to weeks after initiation of therapy.

How often do I need to receive Omalizumab injections?

The dosing frequency of Omalizumab depends on factors such as the patient's weight, IgE levels, and response to treatment. Typically, injections are administered every 2 to 4 weeks.

Can Omalizumab cure allergies?

Omalizumab does not cure allergies but helps alleviate symptoms by reducing the allergic response mediated by IgE.

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