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.
Imagine breathing freely, with an improved sense of smell and far less drainage at the back of your throat. Fortunately, this scenario can exist. One of the ways we do this is with a fast and relatively easy treatment known as balloon sinuplasty. This procedure improves the drainage of the sinuses while preserving normal anatomy and mucosal tissue. And it's ideal for many patients who suffer from chronic sinusitis.
Are Balloon Sinuplasty Results Permanent?
Although the reasons for chronic sinusitis can be many, it's generally related to inflammation of the tissue in the sinus cavities, making it extremely difficult to remain clear.
Balloon sinuplasty (BS) aims to restore normal sinus function and provide patients with relief from chronic sinusitis. It's a minimally invasive treatment that uses a small, flexible catheter and sinus balloon. The balloon is inflated after being inserted into the nostril and gently opens the sinus passageway. This moves the surrounding tissues, and unlike medications that merely treat symptoms, BS provides a lasting solution to chronic sinusitis. Because of the complex nature of chronic sinusitis, it is difficult to know if the results will be permanent. However, many clinical trials have shown that many patients do not require any additional procedures.
Details of the Treatment
BS earned FDA approval in 2005 and has since been used to restore normal sinus function, including proper drainage, in tens of thousands of patients. The treatment can often be performed in the office without general anesthesia. It boasts an excellent safety profile and, because it doesn't cut into bone or tissue, may have fewer side effects than endoscopic sinus surgery in carefully selected patients. For instance, patients tend to have:
We begin by using a small camera and inserting that balloon catheter into the nostril. The balloon is gently guided into one of the sinus cavities, allows us to gain access to the blocked sinus passageway. Once the balloon is inflated, a saline solution may be sprayed into the nostril to flush out further blockages.
After ensuring the nasal passage is cleared, we deflate and withdraw the balloon. The entire process can usually be completed in under an hour, and patients often resume their normal activities the following day. Even the recovery is straightforward with simple methods to care for your nose and nasal passageways. For instance, you'll need to give your body enough time to recover - a minimum of 12 to 24 hours.
You'll also need to resist blowing your nose for at least 24 hours. Your tissues will need a little TLC, and blowing only serves to cause irritation. We may provide a nasal spray to use at home that will help safely rinse your passageway. Doses are typically administered every four hours, but we'll tailor treatment to meet your specific needs. Last but not least, if we provide prescription medications, it's important you follow them as directed.
Candidacy for Treatment
Sinusitis impacts 37 million Americans every year. While medications offer relief for some people, it's not a cure-all. Many patients require additional therapy to address their symptoms, and this is where balloon sinuplasty can provide much-needed help. The treatment can be especially beneficial to Louisville, KY patients who have endured years of sinus and allergy problems.
Our staff will discuss in greater detail your candidacy for BS. Generally speaking, those with the following symptoms feel much better after treatment:
How is This Different than Sinus Surgery?
Balloon sinuplasty is a good option for many patients. Your doctor has the experience and expertise to provide recommendations from a variety of sinus procedures, including surgery involving an endoscope and balloon sinuplasty.
In endoscopic sinus surgery, a thin camera rod with a light at the end is used to magnify sinus tissues and specialized instruments can then be used to remove blockages, including scar tissue and nasal polyps.
What the Science Tells Us
Multiple clinical studies confirm BS provides lasting relief from the many symptoms that accompany sinusitis. We're talking about concerns like sore throat, headache, facial pain, stuffy or runny nose, and cough. And the patient success rate associated with this treatment is around 95%.
These same studies show BS opens sinus cavities without causing unwanted side effects like facial bruising and significant discomfort. Equally important, patients do not have to pack their noses with gauze after the treatment.
Studies further show us that patients who undergo BS have substantial improvements to their quality of living. An analysis of 45 different studies revealed that up to 97% of all patients feel relief after treatment. They experience fewer headaches, breathe better, and enjoy improved sleep. They also lead healthier lives thanks to a reduction in recurring sinus and throat infections.
Frequently Asked Questions From Our Louisville, KY Patients
We encourage patients to get answers to their questions before moving forward with treatment. To illustrate, many people want to better understand the exact nature of sinusitis. Let's begin by describing the sinuses, which are four paired cavities in the head. They're connected by narrow channels that help drain the mucous they create. That drainage is important - it keeps the nose clean and free of harmful bacteria.
The sinuses are normally filled with air but can become blocked. When this happens, they also fill with fluid that encourages the growth of bacteria. This leads to tissue swelling that makes breathing highly difficult.
How Long Do I Need to Wait to Exercise?
Earlier, we said most patients resume normal activities within one day. This includes light exercise like walking. Strenuous activities, however, should be delayed at least a week. We can discuss this more during your consultation, at which time we'll assess your condition and ask about your treatment goals.
How Do Nasal Passageways Remain Open After Treatment?
BS dilates sinus openings by pushing aside bones that comprise the sinus ostia. These are the openings that form drainage channels for the sinuses. By physically moving that bone, we're able to remodel the ostia and create wider openings.
What Is the Balloon Made From?
Many patients have a latex allergy that might cause them to initially question BS treatment. But the balloon used is made from a high-strength plastic free of latex. This means it can be safely used even on those with common allergies.
Is Treatment Safe for Children?
BS appears to be an effective and safe way to relieve chronic sinusitis symptoms in children. Many health care providers recommend BS for children to open airways and improve breathing difficulties magnified by sinusitis. Several studies have demonstrated low rates of adverse effects.
How Did This Treatment Originate?
Minimally invasive functional endoscopic sinus surgery (FESS) has been a standard of care since the 1980s. The idea with FESS is to relieve sinus obstruction and recreate the natural outflow of the sinuses. BS started after biomedical engineers reasoned that just as a surgeon can dilate a blocked artery with a balloon, the same could be done with blocked sinuses. BS evolved from this theory and has become a procedure that can be quickly performed, as an in-office treatment, and doesn't require significant downtime.
BS can provide the sinusitis relief you've been searching for. It clears nasal passages, reduces headaches, and improves quality of life. And these benefits are enjoyed without a long and arduous recovery period. Schedule your consultation today by contacting Dr. Thomas S Higgins, MD, MSPH.
Thomas S. Higgins, MD, MSPH
Husband. Dad. Sinusitis Nerd.
By Thomas S. Higgins, Jr., MD, MSPH
1. Antibiotics reduce inflammation.
2. Antibiotics reduce pain.
3. Antibiotics induce the placebo effect.
But antibiotics are not good to use for non-bacterial infections!
Aspirin Triad Sinusitis (or Aspirin Exacerbated Respiratory Disease) is the combination of aspirin sensitivity, severe chronic sinusitis with polyposis, and asthma. It often manifests in adulthood and can be one of the most difficult-to-manage sinus problems. Read More.
Thomas S. Higgins, MD, MSPH
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Kentuckiana Ear, Nose & Throat, PSC
6420 Dutchman's Parkway, STE 380
Louisville, KY 40205
Phone: (502) 894-8441