One of the study's key findings, according to Busse, is the fact that allergies play a significant role in the development of asthma attack. He said that wasn't unknown, but that it was surprising to see how much of an effect reducing IgE levels had on asthma. "Allergies play a very important role in bringing about asthma attacks, and omalizumab allowed us to reduce the allergic process," he said.
Funding for the study was provided by the National Institutes of Health, Novartis, Dey Pharma (they provided Epi-Pens to treat serious allergic reactions), and SC Johnson (which provided pest control products).
"Clearly, this is a very well-conducted study, but it is just one study. More research needs to be done, and we need to know more about safety," said Dr. Deepa Rastogi, an attending physician in the division of respiratory and sleep medicine at Children's Hospital at Montefiore Medical Center in New York City.
She added that this study reinforces treatment guidelines, and emphasizes the need for good allergen control wherever possible. If you can't control exposure to environmental allergens, allergy prevention medications are often recommended, she said.
Learn more about managing asthma and allergy triggers from the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.
SOURCES: William Busse, M.D., professor, medicine, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine, Madison; Deepa Rastogi, M.B.B.S., attending physician, division of respiratory and sleep medicine, Children's Hospital at Montefiore Medical Center, and assistant professor, pediatrics, Albert Einstein School of Medicine, New York City; March 17, 2011, New England Journal of Medicine
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