Doctors are prescribing immunotherapy and biologic injections to fight numerous respiratory diseases such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), viral or bacterial infections, dust allergies and idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), to provide better treatment and symptom relief for breathing problems.
What is Immunotherapy?
Your immune system includes the white blood cells and the lymphatic system including your bone marrow, which work together to ward off diseases and infection and keep you healthy and strong.
Immunotherapy refers to treatments which help strengthen your immune system so that you can fight respiratory infections and disease. It includes drugs, injections, topical creams and gels and other techniques used to enhance your immunity.
Benefits of Immunotherapy
Immunotherapy can be used when other treatments don’t provide benefit, and is relatively safe compared to other treatments. It provides long term relief in the management of your disease by enhancing the natural ability of the body to fight off respiratory disease.
Biologic injections are a part of immunotherapy to help build and strengthen your immunity. They contain special protein molecules called monoclonal antibodies. These proteins fight against the causative agents of respiratory disease and suppress the inflammatory response of your body, keeping your breathing difficulties under control.
How are Biologic Injections Administered?
You may receive one or more subcutaneous injections (shots given under the skin) or you may be given an intravenous (injected in vein) injection.
The frequency and dose of injections vary depending on your health condition and the severity of your symptoms. You may take them once a week, once every 15 days or once every 4 weeks, as per your doctor’s recommendation.
Common Side Effects of Biologic Injections
Though biologic injections are relatively safe, they may be associated with minor side effects such as:
- Pain in your joints, muscles, head or back
- Unwanted reaction at the injection site such as itching, swelling, pain, skin discoloration
- Soreness in your throat
- Rarely, severe allergic reactions