Discuss Biological Medications with your Clinician
What should I consider when thinking about a Biological medication?
When considering a Biological medication, some important questions to ask are:
- Is my current treatment working? Do I need to consider a different treatment?
- Am I limiting myself in any way due to my health condition? What is my health condition preventing me from doing?
- What biological medications are available to treat my health issues?
- What are the advantages of taking a specific Biological medication?
- What are the most common side effects or risks that I need to be aware of? Do I need to take any extra precautions?
- Can I get this medication through my regular pharmacy? What is the process of actually getting the medication?
- How long will I need to be treated with the biological medication?
How should I prepare for my doctor’s appointment to discuss Biological medications?
First, it’s important to ask ALL of your questions and get the care you need.
Take a list of your medications and how often you take them.
Be prepared to be honest with your doctor.
If the doctor asks you how you’re doing, don’t say “fine” if you’re not doing fine! Be prepared to tell the doctor what’s going well and what’s not going well – this is your chance to get help if you need it.
How can I share decisions with my doctor on Biological medications?
It’s important for you to talk to your doctor about “shared decision making” or SDM. SDM is not a quick “one and done”, but a process used to come to the best healthcare option for you based on your lifestyle, cultural experience, preferences and vision for your health. Your healthcare provider brings their experience and knowledge base of medicine and your individual case to choose the best treatment option for you and with you.
What does Shared Decision Making Look Like?
There are several steps to SDM. These can take place at one doctor’s appointment or over time at several appointments.
- Discuss care with your doctor
- Look at and compare treatment options
- Review your personal values & preferences
- Come to a decision with your doctor
- Evaluate your decision over time
Adapted from “The SHARE Approach” by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
What is important to discuss with your doctor or provider?
Be sure that your doctor knows your history with asthma or allergies and your “life story” with your health. Discuss what you want to be able to do and how you feel on a daily basis. Talk about what has worked for you and what doesn’t seem to work for you.
- What are your specific triggers for your health condition?
- When you have a moderate to severe episode, what do you experience?
- What you honestly feel you are willing to do to receive treatment.
- Do you struggle with your mental health because of your condition?
- Taking time to think about treatment options if you feel the need.
Your doctor will likely:
- Talk about your history and physical exam
- Perform diagnostic tests specific to your health issue(s)
- Discuss medication and treatment options, review what has worked well and advise you about treatments, including biological medications that may be appropriate for you
- Talk with you about the risks and benefits of the treatment, including:
- “Are you comfortable getting injections?”
- Are you comfortable giving yourself an injection?
- “Do you have transportation to get to the office regularly for treatment?”
- “How much will this cost?”
What are the risks and benefits of Biological Medications?
As with any medical treatment, there are risks and benefits that apply while working to meet your goal. The goal in the treatment of atopic dermatitis is to have less inflammation, redness and itching. When treating severe asthma, the goal is clinical remission (more information below).
Examples for risks and benefits of biological medications for asthma and atopic dermatitis ( you should discuss risk and benefits with your doctor or nurse:
Asthma Risks & Benefits
|Risk of injection site reaction||Some biological medications can be taken at home|
|Risk of anaphylaxis||Reduced need for oral corticosteroids|
Atopic Dermatitis Risks & Benefits
|Risk of conjunctivitis||Decrease in skin lesions, swelling, and redness|
|Inflammation of the cornea||Decreased itching|
|Increase in white blood cells|
|Risk of angioedema |
(swelling similar to hives but under the skin)
What is Clinical Remission in severe asthma?
Biological medications target underlying inflammation and can be a meaningful tool in helping patients achieve clinical remission for their condition. While remission is not a guaranteed cure, it helps patients experience a high level of control of their condition and offers relief from symptoms.
For example, clinical remission in severe asthma is marked by the following measures:
- Absence of an asthma attack or episode for 12 months
- The absence of severe asthma symptoms
- No use of oral corticosteroids for 12 months
- Improvement in lung function test results
Biological medications target underlying inflammation and can be a meaningful tool in helping patients achieve clinical remission for their severe asthma. While remission is not a guaranteed cure for asthma, it helps patients experience a high level of control of their asthma and offers relief from symptoms.
Clinical remission is achievable for patients, but it is not a cure and relapse may occur.
How do I come to a decision with my doctor and healthcare team?
Taking the time to have the conversation about biological medications is the first step in making a decision about biological medications. Listen below as Tonya Winders, President, Global Allergy & Airways Patient Platform talks with Dr. Arzu Yorgancıoğlu, Professor of Respiratory Medicine and GINA Chair, Board of Directors from Manisa, Turkey for a discussion on sharing decisions about biological medications with your doctor. How can you find out what’s right for you?.
What are the advantages of making decisions with your doctor?
Sharing decisions with your doctor can have several advantages, including:
- Improved understanding of your health condition and treatment options.
- Increased engagement in your own health care.
- Enhanced trust in your doctor and the decision-making process.
- Improved health outcomes and patient satisfaction.
- More personalized and tailored treatment plans that take into account your preferences and values.
- What words do you need to know?
- What Biological medications are used for allergy and airway health issues?
- Are Biological medications expensive?
- What is treatment with a Biological medication like?
- What should I consider when thinking about a Biological medication?
- What questions do I want to ask my doctor or healthcare provider?
- What is shared decision making?
- How do my doctor and I find the right Biological medication for me?
- How do I prepare for treatment with a Biological medication?
- What resources are available for me as I move forward with a Biological medication?
- What should I expect from treatment with a Biological medication?
Based in Vienna, Austria, GAAPP’s Board is representative of all regions of the world with large and small groups, all with a common purpose: empowering the patient and supporting the patient voice so that decision-makers in both the public and private sectors in government and industry will be mindful of patient needs, patient desires, and patient rights.
Since 2009 we have grown into a vibrant worldwide organization with more than 60 constituent members from every continent sharing information and best practices, concerns, and hopes.
It is not the policy of Global Allergy & Airways Patient Platform to recommend or endorse any product or treatment.
It is part of the role of GAAPP to provide information on a wide range of products and treatments to keep those with allergy & airways issues as fully informed as possible as to all options available. For medical advice, consult your health professional.