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What Is Allergic Asthma?

~60% Wheezing, chest tightness, trouble breathing—you know the symptoms that can lead to an asthma attack. But did you know that the things you may be allergic to could actually be causing those asthma attacks? If they are, you could have a distinct condition called allergic asthma.

Allergic asthma is the most common type of asthma.

Asthma is a chronic condition with inflammation and narrowing of the airways, as well as tightening of the muscles around the airways. There are approximately 24 million people in the US with asthma. About 60% (6 out of 10) of people with asthma have allergic asthma. In children with asthma, that number is closer to 80% (8 out of 10).

The symptoms of asthma and allergic asthma are the same—it's the triggers that are different. What makes allergic asthma a unique type of asthma is the cause of its symptoms: exposure to year-round allergens in the air (such as pet dander and dust mites). If you have allergic asthma, allergens like these can bring on your allergic asthma symptoms, which can lead to asthma attacks.

  • When an allergen enters your body, your immune system identifies it as something harmful
  • Your immune system responds by releasing a substance called immunoglobulin E (or IgE)
  • IgE plays a key role in the development of allergic asthma symptoms. It binds to allergens, which causes the release of chemicals that can lead to inflammation (swelling) in and around the lungs. This can trigger an allergic asthma attack

If you think you may have allergic asthma, it's important to first find out if you have any allergic triggers. This can be done with a skin or blood test. The next step to finding out if you have allergic asthma is to ask your doctor for an IgE test.

Talk to your doctor about a way to treat allergic asthma.
If you have asthma and you are uncontrolled on your current inhaled corticosteroids, you may want to talk to your doctor.

Could asthma like this be allergic asthma?

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    What is XOLAIR?

    XOLAIR® (omalizumab) for subcutaneous use is an injectable prescription medicine used to treat patients 6 years of age and older with moderate to severe persistent asthma whose asthma symptoms are not controlled by asthma medicines called inhaled corticosteroids. A skin or blood test is performed to see if you have allergies to year-round allergens.

    XOLAIR is not used to treat other allergic conditions, acute bronchospasm or status asthmaticus.


    What is the most important information I should know about XOLAIR?

    Severe allergic reaction. A severe allergic reaction called anaphylaxis can happen when you receive XOLAIR. The reaction can occur after the first dose, or after many doses. It may also occur right after a XOLAIR injection or days later. Anaphylaxis is a life-threatening condition and can lead to death. Go to the nearest emergency room right away if you have any of these symptoms of an allergic reaction:

    • wheezing, shortness of breath, cough, chest tightness, or trouble breathing
    • low blood pressure, dizziness, fainting, rapid or weak heartbeat, anxiety, or feeling of "impending doom"
    • flushing, itching, hives, or feeling warm
    • swelling of the throat or tongue, throat tightness, hoarse voice, or trouble swallowing

    Your healthcare provider will monitor you closely for symptoms of an allergic reaction while you are receiving XOLAIR and for a period of time after your injection. Your healthcare provider should talk to you about getting medical treatment if you have symptoms of an allergic reaction after leaving the healthcare provider’s office or treatment center.

    Do not receive XOLAIR if you are allergic to omalizumab or any of the ingredients in XOLAIR.

    Before receiving XOLAIR, tell your healthcare provider about all of your medical conditions, including if you:

    • have any other allergies (such as food allergy or seasonal allergies)
    • have sudden breathing problems (bronchospasm)
    • have ever had a severe allergic reaction called anaphylaxis
    • have or have had a parasitic infection
    • have or have had cancer
    • are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. It is not known if XOLAIR may harm your unborn baby.
    • are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed. It is not known if XOLAIR passes into your breast milk. Talk with your healthcare provider about the best way to feed your baby while you receive XOLAIR.

    Tell your healthcare provider about all the medicines you take, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, or herbal supplements.

    How should I receive XOLAIR?

    • XOLAIR should be given by your healthcare provider, in a healthcare setting.
    • XOLAIR is given in 1 or more injections under the skin (subcutaneous), 1 time every 2 or 4 weeks.
    • In asthma patients, a blood test for a substance called IgE must be performed prior to starting XOLAIR to determine the appropriate dose and dosing frequency.
    • Do not decrease or stop taking any of your other asthma medicine unless your healthcare providers tell you to.
    • You may not see improvement in your symptoms right away after XOLAIR treatment.

    What are the possible side effects of XOLAIR?
    XOLAIR may cause serious side effects, including:

    • See, "What is the most important information I should know about XOLAIR" regarding the risk of anaphylaxis.
    • Cancer. Cases of cancer were observed in some people who received XOLAIR.
    • Inflammation of your blood vessels. Rarely, this can happen in people with asthma who receive XOLAIR. This usually, but not always, happens in people who also take a steroid medicine by mouth that is being stopped or the dose is being lowered. It is not known whether this is caused by XOLAIR. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you have rash; chest pain; shortness of breath; or a feeling of pins and needles or numbness of your arms or legs.
    • Fever, muscle aches, and rash. Some people who take XOLAIR get these symptoms 1 to 5 days after receiving a XOLAIR injection. If you have any of these symptoms, tell your healthcare provider.
    • Parasitic infection. Some people who are at a high risk for parasite (worm) infections, get a parasite infection after receiving XOLAIR. Your healthcare provider can test your stool to check if you have a parasite infection.
    • Heart and circulation problems. Some people who receive XOLAIR have had chest pain, heart attack, blood clots in the lungs or legs, or temporary symptoms of weakness on one side of the body, slurred speech, or altered vision. It is not known whether this is caused by XOLAIR.

    The most common side effects of XOLAIR:

    • In adults and children 12 years of age and older with asthma: pain especially in your arms and legs, dizziness, feeling tired, skin rash, bone fractures, and pain or discomfort of your ears.
    • In children 6 to less than 12 years of age with asthma: common cold symptoms, headache, fever, sore throat, pain or discomfort of your ear, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting and nose bleeds.

    These are not all the possible side effects of XOLAIR. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects.

    You may report side effects to the FDA at (800) FDA-1088 or You may also report side effects to Genentech at (888) 835-2555 or Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation at 888-669-6682.

    Please see full Prescribing Information, including Medication Guide for additional Important Safety Information.

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