(BPT) - This content was sponsored by GSK. Jenna is a real patient who was on treatment at the time of these interviews. GSK paid for her time and expenses in sharing her unique experiences. Individual results may vary.
Can you remember a time when a teacher of yours positively impacted your life? According to a study conducted by the ING Foundation, 88% of Americans say they had a teacher who had a significant, positive impact on their life and 98% reported that they believe a good teacher can change the course of a student’s life. Teachers provide our children a space to learn and grow each day, whether virtual or in-person.
“A normal day for a teacher, you are always on your feet ready to move, ready to catch the next problem and solve it,” shared Jenna, an art teacher and artist.
When those daily responsibilities are met with respiratory conditions, like asthma, a teacher’s job can become even more difficult.
Asthma is a chronic lung disease where inflammation in the lungs causes the airways to narrow. Symptoms of asthma can include shortness of breath, chest tightness or pain, wheezing when exhaling and trouble sleeping due to asthma symptoms. Of the 25 million people in the U.S. living with asthma, 5-10% suffer from severe asthma. Severe asthma is often characterized by a higher frequency of symptoms.
During her first year of teaching, Jenna found that her severe asthma was negatively impacting her work. She felt disappointed that her condition was holding her back from being able to give her students her best while still maintaining her own health and well-being.
"Do I stay and just push through this stress, and this hurt and this not being able to breathe in my classroom? Do I stay for them, or do I have to go and take care of myself? It's kind of a constant battle,” said Jenna.
Severe asthma did not only impact her work life but also her personal life. Jenna shared, “When you’re not able to teach and do the things that you want to with your students it's really difficult. When you’re not able to partake in activities with your family, it’s really frustrating.”
After sharing her symptoms with her doctor, Jenna learned that not all asthma is the same, and for some people, including about half of those with severe asthma, elevated eosinophil levels can be a key factor. This type of asthma is called severe eosinophilic asthma (SEA). Jenna’s body was producing excess eosinophils, which likely contributed to the severity of her symptoms and the frequency of her asthma attacks. This led to her diagnosis of SEA by an asthma specialist.
The role of eosinophils [ee-uh-sin-uh-fils]
Jenna learned that everyone has eosinophils in their body, which are a type of white blood cell that plays an important role in maintaining the immune system and helping to fight off certain infections. Her doctor told her that if you have an increased number of eosinophils, your lungs may become swollen, or inflamed. This can cause severe asthma attacks. She learned that a simple blood test that measures eosinophil levels can help determine if you have SEA. Once you have an eosinophilic asthma diagnosis, together, you and your doctor will decide if adding a different kind of asthma treatment could help.
According to Dr. Tom Corbridge, Senior Medical Lead at GSK, eosinophils play a critical role in a handful of conditions, not just SEA, and symptoms can present themselves in a variety of ways: “In most healthy people, eosinophils make up less than 5% of the body's white blood cells. When a person has higher numbers of eosinophils without a known cause, they may have an eosinophilic disease, which can cause severe symptoms long-term. Some of these persistent symptoms include frequent asthma attacks and reduced lung function.”
Eosinophils can impact other diseases in addition to asthma, including:
A key protein in our body called IL-5 (interleukin-5) plays a key role in eosinophil production. While the mechanism of action of NUCALA (mepolizumab) is not fully understood, NUCALA targets eosinophils in the body. NUCALA binds to IL-5 and blocks IL-5 from making more eosinophils. Having less eosinophils can help reduce inflammation. This may lead to fewer asthma attacks.
NUCALA is the only anti-IL-5 biologic approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in four eosinophil-driven diseases: SEA, CRSwNP, EGPA, and HES.
NUCALA is a prescription medicine for the:
Do not use NUCALA if you are allergic to mepolizumab or any of the ingredients in NUCALA.
Not for sudden breathing problems. Allergic reactions can occur, including anaphylaxis. Get help right away for swelling of face, mouth, tongue, or trouble breathing. Infections that can cause shingles have occurred. Don’t stop taking steroids unless told by your doctor. Tell your doctor if you have a parasitic infection. May cause headache, injection site reactions, back pain, fatigue, mouth/throat and joint pain.
Please see full Important Safety Information below and full Prescribing Information.
Finally Receiving a Diagnosis and Treatment
Ultimately, Jenna's doctor diagnosed her with SEA and recommended she try NUCALA, which she now takes monthly (every four weeks).
Her advice to others with similar struggles: “Hang in there. Give things like NUCALA a chance.”
Learn more about NUCALA
Ask your primary care provider to refer you to a specialist for more information on a targeted treatment approach. A blood test can be administered to determine eosinophil levels and help diagnose certain diseases like SEA and EGPA.
Important Safety Information
Do not use to treat sudden breathing problems.
NUCALA can cause serious side effects, including:
Before receiving NUCALA, tell your healthcare provider about all of your medical conditions, including if you:
The most common side effects of NUCALA include: headache, injection site reactions (pain, redness, swelling, itching, or a burning feeling at the injection site), back pain, and tiredness (fatigue). Mouth/throat pain and joint pain have been reported with CRSwNP.
Please see full Prescribing Information including Patient Information for NUCALA.
NUCALA injection is available as a 100-mg/mL vial, Autoinjector, and prefilled syringe.
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit www.fda.gov/medwatch, or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
For more information on NUCALA, visit www.nucala.com.
Trademarks are owned by or licensed to the GSK group of companies.©2021 GSK or licensor.MPLPRSR210002 November 2021Produced in USA.
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