Doctors in the city feel, that anti-IgE therapy, which brings down the circulating level of immunoglobulin E in the blood could bring relief to a lot of asthma patients in the future.
Immunoglobulin E (IgE) is the antibody, which is responsible for allergic reactions. “When the body comes in contact with antigens in dust and pollen, the immunoglobulins bind with them and neutralise the threat. However, if there is a higher level of IgE in the body, as is the case with most asthma patients, this could work against the body and lead to an attack,” said Dr Sameer Nanavare, consultant chest physician at Masina and Saifee Hospitals.
“Anti IgE therapy introduces a substance, which binds to the IgE molecules and brings down the level in the body.”
According to doctors, the anti-IgE therapy hasn’t gained popularity owing largely to its high cost. “The therapy is administered to the patient in the form of an injection once or twice a month and costs about Rs 28,000 per injection,” said Dr Sanjeev Mehta, consultant chest physician at Lilavati Hospital.
“Theoretically, anti-IgE therapy is a very good idea as the inflammation in asthma is caused by IgE. It is quite effective and has been in the Indian market for around two years. However, it is currently administered only to severe asthmatics due to its cost,” he added.
Doctors hope that the cost of the therapy will come down in the coming years to make it more accessible.