Omalizumab (anti-IgE) therapy increases blood glucose levels in severe persistent allergic asthma patients with diabetes mellitus: 18 month follow-up

Arzu Didem Yalcin, Reginald M Gorczynski, Aykut Cilli, Ludwig Strauss
Clinical Laboratory 2014, 60 (9): 1561-4

BACKGROUND: Therapeutic anti-IgE antibodies (Xolair, omalizumab) able to reduce free IgE levels and to block the binding of IgE to Fcepsilon RI without cross-linking IgE and triggering degranulation of IgE-sensitised cells have been developed.

METHODS: We had two male patients of severe persistent allergic asthma with type-2 diabetes mellitus at the ages of 57 and 52 and who had suffered a side-effect of increased blood glucose level that caused a need for an extra insulin injection to control the hyperglycemia. Their asthma was not under control, frequent emergency department admissions lead us to use omalizumab treatment. Assessment of clinical changes and adverse effects were evaluated at each bimonthly patient visit including vital signs, full physical examination, details of any allergy incidents, total and specific IgE levels, serum ECP (eosinophilic cationic peptid) levels, pulmonary function test, exhaled nitric oxide concentrations, and asthma control test.

RESULTS: Both patients were on week 42 - 45 of omalizumab treatment with a the dosage of 375 and 300 mg when they had the adverse reaction we reported here; they also had no other complaints. Blood levels of ECP and high sensitive CRP (hs-CRP) were decreased after starting the treatment of anti-IgE.

CONCLUSIONS: To our knowledge, this is the first time an association between omalizumab use and hyperglycemia has been documented. Every vial of Xolair (150 mg) contains 145.5 mg sucrose and it might increase the blood levels of glucose in diabetics. As a conclusion the prescribing information might have been revised based on post marketing surveillance data and reported such cases indicating that different side effects may occur beyond 2 hours of the injection.

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