Dupixent vs Xolair

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For patients with severe or persistent forms of eczema, asthma, or other allergic conditions, certain drugs that modify the immune system's response can help manage symptoms and improve quality of life. Dupixent and Xolair are two such medications often prescribed for these types of conditions. They each target different aspects of the immune response but both have significant effects in managing allergy-related disorders.

Dupixent is a monoclonal antibody specifically designed to inhibit interleukin-4 (IL-4) and interleukin-13 (IL-13), key proteins involved in type 2 inflammation seen in diseases like atopic dermatitis and asthma. On the other hand, Xolair is an anti-IgE monoclonal antibody which works by binding to IgE antibodies, thus reducing inflammatory responses triggered by allergen exposure primarily used for treating moderate to severe persistent allergic asthma not controlled by regular medication.

What is Dupixent?

Dupilumab (the generic name for Dupixent) is a recent development in the class of drugs known as biologics and was first approved by the FDA in 2017. Dupixent works by blocking interleukin-4 and interleukin-13, two proteins that play key roles in inflammation associated with certain allergic responses. It is prescribed primarily for moderate to severe atopic dermatitis (eczema), asthma, and chronic rhinosinusitis with nasal polyps. On the other hand, Omalizumab (the generic name for Xolair) has been available since 2003 and it targets IgE antibodies which are instrumental in allergic reactions. Xolair is used mainly to treat moderate to severe persistent asthma and chronic idiopathic urticaria (CIU). While both drugs have proven efficacy, they target different mechanisms within immune response pathways which results in them being more effective for different conditions.

What conditions is Dupixent approved to treat?

Dupixent is approved for the treatment of several chronic inflammatory conditions:

  • Moderate-to-severe atopic dermatitis (eczema) in patients aged 6 years and older who are not adequately controlled with topical prescription therapies or when those therapies are not advisable
  • Moderate-to-severe asthma in patients aged 12 years and older, with an eosinophilic phenotype or oral corticosteroid dependent asthma
  • Chronic rhinosinusitis with nasal polyps in adults.

How does Dupixent help with these illnesses?

Dupixent works to manage moderate-to-severe eczema and asthma by blocking two key proteins, interleukin-4 (IL-4) and interleukin-13 (IL-13), that contribute significantly to the inflammatory response seen in these conditions. These proteins are cytokines, chemicals released by immune cells that trigger inflammation in various parts of the body, including the skin and lungs. In individuals with eczema or asthma, excessive levels of IL-4 and IL-13 can lead to symptoms such as redness, itching, swelling, difficulty breathing and wheezing. By inhibiting these proteins from binding to their receptors on cell surfaces, Dupixent helps reduce inflammation thus mitigating these distressing symptoms and helping patients better manage their condition.

What is Xolair?

Xolair, also known as omalizumab, is a monoclonal antibody designed for the treatment of moderate to severe persistent asthma and chronic idiopathic urticaria (CIU) that does not respond to antihistamines. Xolair works by inhibiting the binding of IgE, a type of immune system protein linked with allergic reactions, to its receptor on cells in the body. This process reduces the release of mediators from those cells that cause inflammation in conditions like asthma or CIU. Xolair was first approved by FDA in 2003.

Unlike Dupixent which primarily targets eczema and certain types of asthma through blocking interleukin-4 and interleukin-13 proteins involved in inflammatory response, Xolair specifically focuses on reducing allergen sensitivity making it more effective for patients whose symptoms are triggered by specific allergens.

Its side-effect profile can be different than other treatments due to its unique action mechanism. The common side effects include injection-site reactions, viral infections such as colds or sinusitis, headache and upper respiratory tract infection. In rare cases it may cause serious allergic reactions including anaphylaxis.

What conditions is Xolair approved to treat?

Xolair is a widely recognized medication that’s approved for the treatment of:

  • Moderate to severe persistent asthma in patients aged 6 years and older whose asthma symptoms are not adequately controlled by inhaled corticosteroids.
  • Chronic idiopathic urticaria (CIU), also known as chronic spontaneous urticaria, in patients who remain symptomatic despite H1 antihistamine treatment.

It's important to note that Xolair is used when other medications have not worked or cannot be tolerated, and it must be administered under healthcare professional supervision due to potential adverse reactions including anaphylaxis.

How does Xolair help with these illnesses?

IgE is an antibody that plays a crucial role in the allergic response, causing symptoms such as sneezing, itching, and inflammation. Xolair works by binding to IgE and reducing its ability to trigger these responses, thereby alleviating some of the symptoms of allergies. Its action on other immune cells may also play roles in the action of Xolair as an anti-allergic medication. Since it does not significantly affect other antibodies, it is sometimes prescribed when a patient does not respond well to the "typical" antihistamines or corticosteroids (such as Dupixent), or may be combined with them for more severe cases of allergies or asthma.

How effective are both Dupixent and Xolair?

Both dupilumab (Dupixent) and omalizumab (Xolair) have shown efficacy in treating patients with severe asthma, with their approval by the FDA separated by a significant time gap. Dupilumab was approved in 2018, whereas omalizumab received approval back in 2003. These medications function differently; Dupixent targets IL-4 and IL-13 cytokines to inhibit inflammation, while Xolair acts against IgE antibodies which are known to trigger allergic responses.

A clinical trial conducted in 2016 directly compared these drugs' abilities to mitigate severe asthma symptoms. Both treatments demonstrated similar effectiveness and safety profiles, although none of the metrics used for measuring treatment success showed any notable differences between patients treated with dupilumab versus those receiving omalizumab.

A meta-analysis review from 2020 on dupilumab indicated that it is effective within two weeks of starting treatment, has a favorable side effect profile compared to many other biologics for asthma management, and is well-tolerated even among diverse patient populations including children over age six. This study also noted that dupilumab has become an increasingly popular option worldwide due its broad application across several atopic conditions like eczema and nasal polyps along with asthma.

A review from 2019 suggested that omalizumab seems more effective than placebo for managing severe allergic asthma but appears similar in efficacy when compared to other monoclonal antibody treatments. Even so, due its mechanism of action focusing on allergy-induced reactions only and not all types of severe asthmatic cases as does Dupixent, Xolair is typically considered only after or alongside first-line corticosteroid-based therapy or leukotriene modifiers which cover a broader scope of airway inflammation pathways.

abstract image of a researcher studying a bottle of drug.

At what dose is Dupixent typically prescribed?

Dupixent is administered as a subcutaneous injection every other week after an initial loading dose. The recommended dosage for adults and adolescents aged 12 years or older with moderate-to-severe atopic dermatitis, asthma, or chronic rhinosinusitis with nasal polyps is two injections of 200mg (or 300mg for certain cases) every other week. Children aged between six to eleven may be given Dupixent but the dosage differs according to their weight; children weighing less than 30kg should have a loading dose of 600mg followed by 300mg every four weeks whereas those above this weight threshold are usually prescribed a loading dose of 400mg followed by subsequent doses of 200 mg biweekly.

On the other hand, Xolair dosages are individually tailored based on body weight and serum total IgE level prior to starting treatment. It's generally administered via subcutaneous injection every two to four weeks. This medication has been approved for use in patients who are at least six years old suffering from moderate-to-severe persistent allergic asthma or chronic idiopathic urticaria.

At what dose is Xolair typically prescribed?

Xolair treatment is typically initiated at a dosage of 150-375 mg every two to four weeks. The specific dose and frequency depend on the patient's body weight and serum IgE (Immunoglobulin E) level, determined prior to starting therapy. If no significant improvement occurs in the symptoms or condition after a sufficient period of treatment, your healthcare provider may consider increasing the dosage or frequency. However, it should not exceed the maximum recommended dose of 375 mg every two weeks. Just like any other medication, Xolair requires strict adherence to schedule and dosing for optimum effectiveness.

What are the most common side effects for Dupixent?

Side effects that may occur with Dupixent include:

  • Injection site reactions such as redness, swelling, itching
  • Conjunctivitis (pink eye)
  • Keratitis (inflammation of the cornea in the eye)
  • Eye pruritus (itching)
  • Cold sores in your mouth or on your lips
  • Eosinophilia (increased number of certain white blood cells)

On the other hand, common side effects associated with Xolair involve:

  • Injection site reactions like bruising, burning sensation
  • Viral infections including flu or cold symptoms
  • Sinusitis and upper respiratory tract infection
  • Dizziness
  • Joint pain

Please consult a healthcare provider immediately if you experience any severe or persistent side effects.

abstract image of a patient experiencing side effect

Are there any potential serious side effects for Dupixent?

While both Dupixent and Xolair are used to treat allergic conditions, they can potentially cause different side effects. In rare cases, Dupixent may lead to severe complications such as:

  • Signs of an allergic reaction including hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue or throat.
  • Vision problems: eye pain or changes in vision
  • Worsening skin symptoms (redness, itching, oozing pus)
  • Unusual muscle weakness

On the other hand, Xolair could potentially cause:

  • Signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue or throat.
  • Chest tightness or trouble breathing soon after receiving Xolair
  • Skin rash with blistering and peeling
  • Numbness or tingling around your mouth or in any part of your body -Fast heart rate.

In either case if these serious side effects occur it is important that you seek immediate medical attention. Remember that not everyone who takes these medications will experience these side effects; however being aware helps recognizing them early for prompt treatment.

What are the most common side effects for Xolair?

Potential side effects of Xolair include:

  • Joint pain, arm or leg pain
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Skin rashes, itching
  • Injection site reaction (redness, swelling)
  • Upper respiratory tract infection symptoms such as stuffy nose and sore throat
  • Nausea and vomiting
    Despite these potential side effects, it's important to remember that not all patients will experience them. It's also noteworthy that Xolair has been proven effective in the treatment of moderate to severe asthma and chronic idiopathic urticaria when other treatments have failed. As always, discussing your personal medical history with your healthcare provider is essential when considering new medications.

Are there any potential serious side effects for Xolair?

Xolair, although effective in treating certain medical conditions, can occasionally lead to severe side effects. If you experience any of the following symptoms while on Xolair, it's crucial that you contact your healthcare provider immediately:

  • Signs of an allergic reaction such as hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue or throat
  • Chest tightness or trouble breathing shortly after receiving the injection
  • Bruising or bleeding easily
  • Skin sores or other changes in skin appearance
  • Fever and swollen glands with flu-like symptoms
  • Rapid heartbeat coupled with anxiety and confusion
  • Severe pain in your lower back, blood in your urine
    It is important to remember that not everyone who uses Xolair will experience these side effects. However, if they do occur it's essential to seek professional medical help promptly.

Contraindications for Dupixent and Xolair?

Both Dupixent and Xolair, along with most other immunosuppressant medications, can potentially worsen symptoms in some people. If you notice an increase in infection rates or worsening of your underlying disease, please seek immediate medical attention.

Neither Dupixent nor Xolair should be administered if you are taking certain types of vaccines (like live vaccines). Always inform your healthcare provider about any medications or treatments you are currently receiving; this is crucial to avoid dangerous interactions with these immune-modifying drugs.

Dupixent has been associated with rare cases of eosinophilic conditions and new onset conjunctivitis related to keratitis. On the other hand, Xolair may increase the risk for cardiovascular and cerebrovascular adverse events especially in patients who have a history of these disorders. Therefore it's important that all pre-existing conditions be discussed thoroughly with your physician prior to starting therapy.

How much do Dupixent and Xolair cost?

For the brand name versions of these drugs:

  • The price of Dupixent (300 mg) averages around $3,720 for a one month supply which works out to be approximately $124/day. This assumes the typical dosage regimen of an initial 600mg injection followed by 300mg every other week.
  • Xolair prices can vary significantly depending on your dosage and frequency. For example, a patient receiving two injections per month at 150 mg per dose would pay about $2,500/month or around $83/day.

In this comparison, if you are using the higher dosages (i.e., more frequent injections), then brand-name Xolair could end up being less expensive on a per-day treatment basis than Dupixent. However, it's crucial to note that cost should not be a primary consideration in determining which drug is right for you.

As biologic medications under patent protection with no current biosimilar equivalents available in most countries including US, both Dupixent (dupilumab) and Xolair (omalizumab) come with high costs compared to generics:

  • Dupilumab has no generic equivalent yet; hence its cost remains stable.
  • Omalizumab also does not have any generic form currently available in the market which keeps its price elevated as well.

Popularity of Dupixent and Xolair

Dupilumab, marketed under the brand name Dupixent, is a relatively new medication that was approved by the FDA in 2017. It's indicated for the treatment of moderate-to-severe atopic dermatitis (eczema) and certain types of asthma. In 2020, it was estimated to have been prescribed to about 500,000 people in the US.

On the other hand, Omalizumab or Xolair has been available since 2003 and is used for treating moderate to severe persistent allergic asthma unresponsive to inhaled steroids and chronic idiopathic urticaria (hives). In 2020 alone, it was prescribed approximately two million times across America.

Given their different indications and years on market, these medications are not directly comparable but both represent important options for patients with specific inflammatory conditions that aren't well controlled by standard treatments.


Both Dupixent (dupilumab) and Xolair (omalizumab) have established records of effectiveness in patients with specific types of severe asthma, eczema, and allergic conditions. They are backed by clinical studies showing that they can significantly improve symptoms compared to placebo treatments. However, their use may be determined by the physician based on patient-specific factors as they also have different mechanisms of action: Dupixent works primarily by blocking two key proteins (interleukin-4 and interleukin-13) that contribute to type 2 inflammation seen in certain allergies and eczema; whereas Xolair acts primarily on immunoglobulin E (IgE), a protein involved in allergy response.

Dupixent is often considered for moderate-to-severe atopic dermatitis unresponsive to topical therapies or for severe eosinophilic or oral steroid-dependent asthma. On the other hand, Xolair might be used for moderate-to-severe persistent allergic asthma uncontrolled with conventional therapy or chronic idiopathic urticaria when antihistamines don't provide adequate symptom control.

Neither drug has an available generic form due to their classification as biologics; this factor could potentially influence cost considerations especially for uninsured individuals. The initiation phase might not produce immediate results since these medications usually take some time before significant symptom improvement can be observed.

The side effect profiles vary between both drugs but generally speaking, they are well-tolerated,. Some common side effects include injection site reactions and cold-like symptoms with Dupixent while joint pain and dizziness might occur with Xolair. There is also a risk of serious adverse reactions including hypersensitivity responses which require prompt medical attention should they arise.