A team of researchers co-led by experts from Children’s Hospital Colorado is studying new approaches to reducing fall asthma exacerbations in pediatric patients. The study, known as the PROSE (Preventative Omalizumab or Step-Up Therapy for Fall Exacerbations) Trial, evaluated whether or not a preventative strategy of treating patients with Xolair 4 to 6 weeks before the start of school and continuing it for the next 4 months helped prevent the asthma flare-ups that typically come during the fall season when children return to school, according to a Science Daily news report.

The study included 727 participants, six to 17 years of age, who resided in low-income, inner-city areas. The trial was conducted over two fall cycles in 2012 and 2013. The participants received interventions beyond their regular ongoing treatment beginning 4 to 6 weeks prior to the beginning of school and ending 90 days following the start of school The results of the study showed that preventative treatment with omalizumab does reduce fall exacerbations in a high-risk group of allergic asthma subjects.

The Science Daily news report notes that the therapy also appears to restore immune protection against common cold viruses that can trigger severe asthma attacks and can be impaired by allergies. In addition, the researchers found that increasing inhaled steroid treatment levels above those determined to achieve control offered little to no additional benefit in preventing exacerbations.

“The results of our study give us an exciting new way to treat pediatric patients with allergic asthma,” said Stanley J. Szefler, MD, who designed the study. “By identifying those patients who are at high risk for fall asthma exacerbations, we can target directed treatment for them during the times of year that they’re at the greatest risk for problems. In this way, we can better control their asthma and hopefully ultimately limit their treatment duration.”

Source: Science Daily