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NICE changes Xolair recommendation

NICE has ruled that Xolair should not be provided on the NHS as standard asthma treatment.

At the moment many asthma sufferers are given Xolair, which is also known as omalizumab, to help them control the condition in addition to other medication. But after studying whether the treatment offers value for money, the health watchdog has recommended that it should not be given to those with severe allergic asthma.

It has however said patients who have already been prescribed it can carry on taking the drug until it is considered the right time to stop by a medical professional.

NICE chief executive Sir Andrew Dillon said the organisation understood that serious and long-lasting allergic asthma had a negative impact on the lives of sufferers and that for many people omalizumab was an “effective therapy”.

Olympic swimmer Jo Jackson has credited the drug with helping her continue her sporting career.

The athlete, who picked up a bronze medal in Beijing four years ago, suffered serious asthma attacks while training until she started taking Xolair.

Jo, who swam the women’s 400m freestyle at the London 2012 Games, said that without the drug she may have had to stop competing.

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