How does this medication work? What will it do for me?
Benralizumab belongs to the class of medications called monoclonal antibodies. Specifically, it is an interleukin-5 inhibitor. It is used in addition to other medication to treat the symptoms of a type of asthma called eosinophilic asthma. This medication may be used when other "preventer" asthma medications, such as long-acting bronchodilators and corticosteroids, have not been effective.
Symptoms of asthma are caused by inflammation in the airways. This inflammation is caused by a number of different cells and chemicals produced by the body. Eosinophils are a type of white blood cell that are believed to contribute to the inflammation. Eosinophilic asthma is a type of asthma in which there is an increased number of eosinophils in the lungs or blood.
Benralizumab is believed to work by attaching to eosinophils, thereby reducing the number of eosinophils in the blood and the lungs.
This medication may be available under multiple brand names and/or in several different forms. Any specific brand name of this medication may not be available in all of the forms or approved for all of the conditions discussed here. As well, some forms of this medication may not be used for all of the conditions discussed here.
Your doctor may have suggested this medication for conditions other than those listed in these drug information articles. If you have not discussed this with your doctor or are not sure why you are taking this medication, speak to your doctor. Do not stop taking this medication without consulting your doctor.
Do not give this medication to anyone else, even if they have the same symptoms as you do. It can be harmful for people to take this medication if their doctor has not prescribed it.
What form(s) does this medication come in?
Each 1 mL of preservative-free, sterile aqueous solution for injection contains 30 mg of benralizumab. Nonmedicinal ingredients: L-histidine, L-histidine hydrochloride monohydrate, α,α-trehalose dehydrate, polysorbate 20, and water for injection.
This medication is available as a single-dose, pre-filled syringe and as a single-dose, pre-filled autoinjector pen.
How should I use this medication?
The recommended dose of benralizumab is 30 mg injected subcutaneously (under the skin). The first three doses are injected once every 4 weeks. After this, the medication is injected once every 8 weeks.
Benralizumab is initially given under the supervision of a doctor in a hospital or similar setting with access to sterile equipment for preparation and the medical training to manage side effects, such as a severe allergic reaction.
After the first few doses, your doctor may determine that you can use this medication at home. Do not attempt to inject this medication on your own until you completely understand how to inject a dose.
If you are injecting this medication yourself, you may use the front of your thigh or the lower part of your abdomen for the injection. If a caregiver is giving you this medication, they may also use the upper arm. Do not try to inject yourself in the arm. Rotate the injection sites to minimize skin irritation.
Many things can affect the dose of medication that a person needs, such as body weight, other medical conditions, and other medications. If your doctor has recommended a dose different from the ones listed here, do not change the way that you are taking the medication without consulting your doctor.
It is important this medication be given exactly as recommended by your doctor. If you miss an appointment to receive benralizumab, contact your doctor as soon as possible to reschedule your appointment. If you are injecting this medication at home and miss a dose, take it as soon as possible and continue with your regular schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one. If you are not sure what to do after missing a dose, contact your doctor or pharmacist for advice.
This medication should be kept refrigerated in its original package to protect it from light. Do not shake or freeze this medication. Keep it out of the sight and reach of children. Benralizumab may be removed from the refrigerator 30 minutes prior to injection to allow it to warm to room temperature.
Do not dispose of medications in wastewater (e.g. down the sink or in the toilet) or in household garbage. Ask your pharmacist how to dispose of medications that are no longer needed or have expired.
Who should NOT take this medication?
Do not take this medication if you are allergic to benralizumab or any ingredients of the medication.
What side effects are possible with this medication?
Many medications can cause side effects. A side effect is an unwanted response to a medication when it is taken in normal doses. Side effects can be mild or severe, temporary or permanent.
The side effects listed below are not experienced by everyone who takes this medication. If you are concerned about side effects, discuss the risks and benefits of this medication with your doctor.
The following side effects have been reported by at least 1% of people taking this medication. Many of these side effects can be managed, and some may go away on their own over time.
Contact your doctor if you experience these side effects and they are severe or bothersome. Your pharmacist may be able to advise you on managing side effects.
- reaction at the injection site (e.g., redness, swelling, pain)
- sore throat
Although most of the side effects listed below don't happen very often, they could lead to serious problems if you do not seek medical attention.
Check with your doctor as soon as possible if any of the following side effects occur:
- abdominal pain or discomfort
- skin rash, redness, itching, or swelling
- trouble breathing
Stop taking the medication and seek immediate medical attention if any of the following occur:
- signs of a serious allergic reaction (e.g., abdominal cramps, difficulty breathing, nausea and vomiting, or swelling of the face and throat)
Some people may experience side effects other than those listed. Check with your doctor if you notice any symptom that worries you while you are taking this medication.
Are there any other precautions or warnings for this medication?
Before you begin using a medication, be sure to inform your doctor of any medical conditions or allergies you may have, any medications you are taking, whether you are pregnant or breast-feeding, and any other significant facts about your health. These factors may affect how you should use this medication.
Acute asthma attacks: Benralizumab is not intended to treat an acute asthma attack. If you start developing asthma symptoms, be sure to use your reliever medication for rapid relief of your asthma symptoms. It is very important that you have your reliever medication with you at all times. If you experience worsening symptoms or your reliever medications are not as effective as usual, contact your doctor or seek medical attention immediately.
Allergic reactions: In rare cases, some people may develop a serious allergic reaction to this medication. These reactions usually occur within hours of receiving the medication, but may occur after several days. Signs of an allergic reaction include a severe rash, hives, swollen face or throat, or difficulty breathing. If these occur, let your doctor or nurse know immediately.
Infection: This medication may prevent successful treatment of certain types of parasite infections. If you have a history of infection by intestinal worms, such as tapeworm, discuss with your doctor discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.
Pregnancy: No studies have been done to determine the safety and effectiveness of this medication when used by women who are pregnant. This medication should not be used during pregnancy unless the benefits outweigh the risks. If you become pregnant while taking this medication, contact your doctor immediately.
Women who want to become pregnant should stop using this medication for at least 4 months before trying to conceive.
Breast-feeding: It is not known if benralizumab passes into breast milk. If you are a breast-feeding mother and are taking this medication, it may affect your baby. Talk to your doctor about whether you should continue breast-feeding.
Children: The safety and effectiveness of using this medication have not been established for children.
What other drugs could interact with this medication?
Tell your doctor or prescriber about all prescription, over-the-counter (non-prescription), and herbal medications that you are taking. Also tell them about any supplements you take. Since caffeine, alcohol, the nicotine from cigarettes, or street drugs can affect the action of many medications, you should let your prescriber know if you use them. Depending on your specific circumstances, your doctor may want you to:
- stop taking one of the medications,
- change one of the medications to another,
- change how you are taking one or both of the medications, or
- leave everything as is.
An interaction between two medications does not always mean that you must stop taking one of them. Speak to your doctor about how any drug interactions are being managed or should be managed.
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