Q: How can asthma patients determine if biologic medications are right for them?

Don Bukstein, MD: Biologics are a new type of medication that are prescribed as an add-on therapy for severe, uncontrolled asthma. They are designed to treat the source of symptoms, rather than the symptoms themselves, and they’re usually administered by injection.

You will want to sit down with your allergist in deciding whether biologics are right for you and do what we call Shared Decision Making.

In a shared decision, the attributes of each biologic is discussed. Questions that patients should ask include:

  • Can you administer the biologic medication at home or in the doctor’s office only?
  • How often should it be administered?
  • Is the medication covered by insurance?

Your allergist will go over those questions with you and then you need to determine with your allergist whether the attributes of the biologic fits your healthcare needs.

You’re the expert in your asthma. Your allergist is the expert in the science behind the use of biologics and how to incorporate them into your treatment plan. You both will come together in a shared decision, often using what we call a Shared Decision Making tool that provides questions to help you make your decision. You can find these tools at:

Asthma / Severe Asthma

Pediatric Asthma

Don Bukstein, MD, FACAAI, is a board-certified allergist/immunologist and pediatric pulmonologist with Allergy Asthma Sinus Center in Milwaukee and Madison, Wisconsin. He is Director of Allergy and Asthma Research at Dean Medical Center in Madison and a Fellow with the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI).

Have a medical question? Email editor@allergyasthmanetwork.org or write to Ask the Allergist, Allergy & Asthma Network, 8229 Boone Blvd., Suite 260, Vienna, VA 22182.

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