Fasenra (benralizumab)

Reviewed by: HU Medical Review Board | Last reviewed: June 2023

Fasenra® (benralizumab) is an add-on maintenance treatment for people 12 and older with severe eosinophilic asthma. Fasenra helps prevent severe asthma attacks and may improve breathing.1

Fasenra is given as a subcutaneous (under the skin) injection. Fasenra is not used to treat sudden breathing problems.1

What are the ingredients in Fasenra?

The active ingredient in Fasenra is benralizumab.1

How does Fasenra work?

Fasenra is a monoclonal antibody biologic drug. Biologics are drugs made from living cells. These cells can come from parts of the blood, proteins, viruses, or tissue. The process of making biologics turns products made from cells into drugs that can prevent, treat, and cure disease. These are different from most traditional drugs. Traditional drugs are made from chemicals in a lab. Their ingredients are not directly derived from living cells.1

Fasenra’s active ingredient binds to a cytokine called IL-5 and blocks it from binding to the IL-5 receptor complex located on eosinophils. This targets the eosinophil for destruction by the body’s natural killer cells.1 Eosinophils are white blood cells that are found in healthy immune systems. These blood cells help fight parasites and infections. High levels of these cells, like in severe eosinophilic asthma, can cause immune system issues and lead to:1

  • Airway inflammation
  • Impaired lung function
  • Increased risk of asthma attacks
  • Increased asthma severity and symptoms
  • Airway hyper-responsiveness

By destroying excess eosinophils, inflammation leading to eosinophilic asthma symptoms may be reduced.1

What are the possible side effects?

The most common side effects of Fasenra include headache and sore throat.1

Fasenra may also cause serious allergic reactions, including anaphylaxis. Get emergency help right away if you have any signs of an allergic reaction, including:1

  • Swelling of your face, mouth, or tongue
  • Breathing problems
  • Fainting, dizziness, feeling lightheaded
  • Rash
  • Hives

These are not all the possible side effects of Fasenra. Talk to your doctor about what to expect when taking Fasenra. You also should call your doctor if you have any changes that concern you when taking Fasenra.

Other things to know

People taking Fasenra who are also taking corticosteroids should not discontinue or reduce the dose of their corticosteroids without the prior approval of their doctor.1

People with parasitic (helminth) infections should be treated for their infection before starting Fasenra. Treatment should be discontinued if a helminth infection that does not respond to anti-helminth treatment arises.1

There is not enough data to know if Fasenra is safe to take while pregnant or breastfeeding. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding before taking Fasenra.1

Before beginning treatment for asthma, tell your doctor about all your health conditions and any other drugs, vitamins, or supplements you are taking. This includes over-the-counter drugs.

For more information, read the full prescribing information of Fasenra.

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