Dupixent, also known as Dupilumab, is an injection that can help treat the symptoms of a number of conditions, such as atopic dermatitis and eczema, asthma, and nasal polyps. The drug, administered via an injection, works to calm down an overexcited immune system, so you will benefit from a reduced response. Here at Kentuckiana Ear, Nose & Throat and Higgins Sinus in Louisville, KY, your sinus specialist can prescribe the medicine.
When you come to the clinic for your initial consultation, we will evaluate all of your symptoms to see whether you are a good fit for this kind of treatment. You will then be booked in for your first injection and told what to do before and after you come for your appointment. Read on to find out more about the drug, what it treats, and what your sessions might be like.
What Is Dupixent Prescribed for?
Dupilumab is an injection that can help to curb several common allergy-like problems. It is a monoclonal antibody, and it binds to certain receptors, thereby preventing the body's overreaction that leads to inflammation. Once the immune system is calm, you are likely to experience fewer symptoms of atopic dermatitis, eczema, asthma, or nasal polyps.
While some people just need it as a short-term intervention, it has been proven safe in the long term, as well, so if your condition is chronic and has not been resolved by other measures, this injection could be a good option. Since it is a prescription medication, you'll have to make an appointment with your sinus specialist, who can tell you whether Dupilumab is the correct medicine for you and who can correctly inject it under your skin.
Atopic Dermatitis and Eczema
The primary condition that this drug treats is atopic dermatitis, which is the most common kind of eczema and affects around 16.5 million adults in the US. The issue usually starts in childhood, with many people experiencing it before their first birthday, but it can persist or even begin when the patient is older. Some of the most common symptoms are itching, dryness, and cracking of the skin. Your tissue might also feel sore and look discolored.
Most commonly, atopic dermatitis affects the hands, face, backs of the knees, insides of the elbows, and even the face and scalp, but it can occur anywhere on the body. You should always get in touch with a specialist if your symptoms are severe and difficult to live with, particularly if you've had the problem for more than 12 months. They will be able to diagnose the condition and let you know what types of interventions you can try.
Asthma is a lung condition that also tends to begin in childhood and can cause difficulty breathing. There are four main symptoms sufferers may experience on a regular basis: coughing, a whistling sound when breathing that is often called wheezing, a tight chest, and breathlessness. An asthma attack happens when these symptoms suddenly get worse, and interventions such as using an inhaler are often needed.
Currently, there is no known cure for asthma, but the symptoms can be mitigated by using certain drugs such as Dupilumab. If you believe that you or your child is suffering from this condition, you shouldn't delay seeing a specialist. A diagnosis can be made through some simple tests, and various methods of coping with asthma will then be addressed.
A polyp is a growth that is usually soft and painless, so you might not notice when this problem first crops up in your nose. However, when the polyp grows too large, you might start to experience various issues such as a runny or blocked nose, a post-nasal drip that causes a constant need to swallow, snoring, nosebleeds, or a reduced sense of smell or taste.
Your Louisville, Kentucky sinus specialist is the best person to speak to if you are suffering from any of these problems. Sometimes, you will need to have surgery to remove your nasal polyps, but this isn't always necessary. Dupixent can improve several of the symptoms you might be suffering from, such as the blocked nose or the loss of smell, and if you get treatment, you might be able to live with the condition without significant issues.
How Is it Administered?
As mentioned above, this medicine is administered in the form of an injection, which means that you have to go to your specialist's practice to receive it. Depending on your individual situation, your doctor might decide to inject it into your upper arm, your thighs, or your stomach, and the injection site will be different each time you come to the clinic.
Most people will initially receive two doses of 300 mg injections, then 300 mg every two weeks. However, this dosage might be slightly different in children and teenagers, depending on their current weight. To receive more detailed instructions and find out what will happen during your appointment, you should get in touch with your specialist. They will be able to tell you when to come in and what to do before and after your treatment.
Who Can Benefit?
Many of the conditions that are addressed by this injection affect children, so you may be wondering at what age it can be started. In most cases, children aged 6 and up can benefit from the treatment, although they might receive lower doses or fewer injections. Before proceeding, go through the list of ingredients with your doctor and confirm that you or your child is not allergic to any of them.
Extra caution is also advisable if you have a parasitic infection, eye problems, or are scheduled to receive a vaccine in the next days or weeks. Women who are currently pregnant or breastfeeding should wait to use Dupilumab until their child is a bit older. While there is no evidence that the drug causes the babies any harm, it's better to be on the safe side and avoid the extra risk.
How to Gain Access to the Medication
Now that you know which conditions can be treated by Dupilumab and how it is administered, you may wonder where you can gain access to it. The best place to go for nasal polyps is your local sinus specialist, who will be able to diagnose your condition and speak to you about your various options. If you decide that you'd like to try this treatment, you can then book an appointment for your first injection. Allergists, dermatologists, and pulmonologists also prescribe Dupilumab for asthma and atopic dermatitis.
Dupixent is a highly effective injection that is used to treat atopic dermatitis and eczema, asthma, and nasal polyps. It can be administered to adults, teens, and children over the age of 6, and there are very few contraindications except pregnancy and breastfeeding. For people with a long-term issue, the medicine can be used safely over several months or even years.
Get in touch with us today at Kentuckiana Ear, Nose & Throat and Higgins Sinus in Louisville, KY to find out more about this drug and some of the other interventions we offer. Dr. Thomas Higgins will be more than happy to welcome you to the clinic for your initial consultation. If you have nasal polyps, he can provide you with a wide range of minimally invasive solutions, so you can get back to normal as soon as possible.
Thomas S. Higgins, MD, MSPH
Dad. Husband. Sinus Nerd.
Nasal polyps can cause severe nasal congestion and loss of smell. Associated with asthma, having several sinus infections, or having allergies that affect your airways, anyone can suffer from this inflammatory condition. Dr. Thomas Higgins in Louisville, KY, can offer effective treatments for this condition.
But is addressing the problem really necessary or can your polyps be left untreated? Will they go away on their own? In most cases, treatment is highly recommended because larger polyps can cause many serious issues such as breathing problems, sleep disturbance, a loss of your senses of smell and taste, and recurring sinus infections. Today, let's examine what symptoms you might experience if you don't get your polyps reduced or removed.
Do Nasal Polyps Need to Be Treated?
Polyps are small, soft growths that can occur on their own or in small groups, and they might not cause a big issue at first, especially if they are small. Fortunately, they are usually non-cancerous, so polyps are not a life-threatening issue for the vast majority of patients.
Despite this, they can cause significant issues once they grow to a certain size. For example, you might have trouble breathing during the day or at night, you might not smell and taste as well as before, and you could get more frequent sinus infections. What's more, polyps are unlikely to go away spontaneously without treatment. For this reason, you should always visit a specialist when you've been diagnosed with this condition.
There are several reasons why patients might experience breathing problems, such as allergies, blocked sinuses, and being overweight. However, many of these issues are temporary and can be addressed holistically, while shortness of breath due to polyps is a permanent problem unless they are removed.
As the growths expand in your nasal passages, they block the airflow, thereby causing breathing trouble. When you visit your doctor because of this issue, they might recommend treatment that reduces the size of the polyp or eliminates it entirely.
Obstructive sleep apnea happens when you temporarily stop breathing during the night because your airways are closed off by soft tissues. As a result, you might snore more, and you'll feel more tired during the day because you didn't rest properly at night. Some patients also report a morning headache, irritability, and difficulty paying attention.
In the long run, this condition shouldn't be taken lightly because it can cause significant issues such as heart trouble. Since your body doesn't get enough oxygen during the night, your blood pressure is increased and strain is put on your heart. What's more, you might no longer be eligible for certain types of surgery, since the inability to breathe can cause complications.
While nasal polyps are not usually the main cause of sleep apnea, the nasal blockage worsens sleep apnea symptoms and can make it difficult to use a CPAP. A recent treatment called Inspire Sleep is helping sleep apnea patients without the need for CPAP. (Contact us to learn more.)
Loss of Your Senses of Smell and Taste
As we grow older, it's natural that we have a reduced sense of smell and taste. If you know you have polyps and you've experienced a sudden drop in the sensitivity of your nose or taste buds, this condition might be to blame. You should visit us when this happens because, unlike many other conditions related to these senses, polyps can often still be treated and you can regain your full sense of smell and taste.
Recurring Sinus Infections
Finally, you will also notice that you're more susceptible to sinus infections when you have large, untreated polyps in your nose. These can be very unpleasant because they include symptoms of the common cold such as fever, mucous discharge coming from the nose, and a blocked nose, but also headaches, toothache, and bad breath.
Having sinusitis on a regular basis can significantly affect your life, as you may not be able to complete all of your regular tasks well. You'll feel fatigued from the constant infection, which can affect your performance at work and your ability to participate in leisure activities.
What Are the Initial Symptoms of Polyps?
Now that you know why you shouldn't leave nasal polyps untreated for a long time, you might wonder whether there are any early signs that can indicate an issue. Although some of the symptoms that indicate polyps can be similar to those of sinusitis or the common cold, you'll know that it's a persistent problem when they don't disappear after two to three weeks.
If you suffer from a runny nose and stuffiness, postnasal drip, a loss of your senses of smell and taste, and pain in several areas of the face and teeth, you should speak to a specialist in your local Louisville, KY area, who can determine whether polyps are the cause.
A Runny Nose and Stuffiness
When your polyps start to grow and obstruct your nasal passages, they will trap some of the mucus your body produces to flush out waste products. It will be harder for you to get rid of the mucus by blowing your nose, so you will suffer from increased stuffiness. Additionally, the passages in your nose are more likely to get inflamed, and you might suffer from frequent sinus infections.
People who have polyps often feel like they have a persistent cold. If you notice that you've had a blocked nose for several weeks, it might be time to see a specialist and find out whether a polyp is causing the issue.
A postnasal drip happens when your mucus runs down the back of your throat instead of coming out of your nose. When this occurs, you will want to clear your throat constantly, and you might cough more than usual. Many patients also develop a sore or scratchy throat over time. A postnasal drip shouldn't be ignored because it can cause an ear infection when your mucus clogs up your Eustachian tube.
Pain in the Face or Teeth
Not everyone who has polyps experiences pain, but if your nasal passages are crowded by a large number of small polyps or by one very large growth, you might start to experience pressure in the area. This can feel like a headache or a toothache, but if there are no indications of dental trouble and your symptoms don't match up with those of a migraine, a polyp could be behind the issue.
What Does Polyp Treatment in Louisville, KY Involve?
When you come to the clinic and speak to Dr. Higgins about your polyps, he will suggest a treatment method that fits your current needs. Some polyps can be removed with the help of drugs. If this doesn't work, he can perform an endoscopic polyp removal procedure. Functional endoscopic sinus surgery, also called FESS, works almost immediately, and your symptoms should disappear as soon as the procedure is over.
Nasal polyps should almost always be treated because they can cause significant issues such as breathing trouble, obstructive sleep apnea, a loss of your senses of smell and taste, and more frequent sinus infections. If you have been diagnosed with polyps, you should seek out a specialist who can help you to address the issue.
Schedule an appointment with us at Higgins Sinus in Louisville, KY to book an initial consultation and find out more about polyp treatment. Dr. Thomas Higgins will evaluate your situation carefully and suggest the least invasive treatment method possible. That way, you can prevent long-term issues and get back to normal as soon as possible.
Dupilumab (Dupixent) and omalizumab (Xolair) are biologics/monoclonal antibodies used to treat nasal polyps and asthma. So, can you take the COVID-19 vaccine while on these medications?
THE TWO FDA-APPROVED VACCINES ARE NOT LIVE VACCINES
The two COVID-19 vaccinations currently available (Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna) are both non-live, mRNA vaccines. The package insert for dupilumab states that live vaccines should be avoided because it has not been studied with live vaccines. Thus, from this standpoint, both of the medicines can be given.
ANTIBODY RESPONSES PRODUCED WITH OTHER VACCINES IN PATIENTS ON BIOLOGICS
Dupilumab has been studied with other non-live vaccines and the vaccines worked. In a study of atopic dermatitis adults on dupilumab, both the meningococcal polysaccharide and tetanus vaccines showed similar antibody responses in both placebo-treated and dupilumab-treated subjects.
NEITHER MEDICINE HAS IMMUNOSUPPRESSIVE EFFECTS
Dupilumab and omalizumab "modulate" or change the behavior of the immune system, but neither medicine has been shown to reduce the immune system in studies.
JOINT STATEMENT FROM EXPERTS
According to a Joint Statement by the American Academy of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery (AAO–HNS) and the American Academy of Otolaryngic Allergy (AAOA), dupilumab (Dupixent) and omalizumab (Xolair) should not be given on the same day but otherwise can be administered on the normal schedule.
Experts are currently recommending that patients continue dupilumab (Dupixent) and omalizumab (Xolair) when getting the COVID-19 vaccine as long as both the biologic and vaccine are not administered on the same day. Neither medication has been found to lower the immune system and the current vaccines are non-live. Always consult your treating physician for individual medical advice.
Thomas S. Higgins, MD, MSPH
Father. Husband. Sinus Nerd.
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Kentuckiana Ear, Nose & Throat, PSC
6420 Dutchman's Parkway, STE 380
Louisville, KY 40205
Phone: (502) 894-8441