Biologics for Severe Asthma: Treatment-Specific Effects Are Important in Choosing a Specific Agent.
Patients with uncontrolled severe persistent asthma have greater morbidity, greater use of health care resources, and more impairment in health-related quality of life when compared with their peers with well-controlled disease. Fortunately, since the introduction of biological therapeutics, patients with severe eosinophilic asthma now have beneficial treatment options that they did not have just a few years ago. In addition to anti-IgE therapy for allergic asthma, 3 new biological therapeutics targeting IL-5 and 1 targeting IL-4 and IL-13 signaling have recently been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of severe eosinophilic asthma, and approval of more biological therapeutics is on the horizon. These medications decrease the frequency of asthma exacerbations, improve lung function, reduce corticosteroid usage, and improve health-related quality of life. This article reviews the mechanisms of action, specific indications, benefits, and side effects of each of the approved biological therapies for asthma. Furthermore, this article reviews how a clinician could use specific patient characteristics to decide which biologic treatment may be optimal for a given patient.