Mepolizumab (Nucala)

What is Mepolizumab?

Mepolizumab is used in the treatment of chronic rhinosinusitis with nasal polyposis (CRSwNP).

It belongs to a class of drugs known as monoclonal antibodies.

Mepolizumab works by blocking a specific chemical messenger called interleukin-5 (IL-5), which plays a key role in the type of inflammation associated with CRSwNP. By blocking IL-5, mepolizumab reduces the production of eosinophils (a type of white blood cell) from the bone marrow and lowers the number of eosinophils in the bloodstream and tissues. Eosinophils play a major role in causing the nasal polyps responsible for symptoms in CRSwNP.

Mepolizumab is also used to treat severe type of asthma and a type of vasculitis called eosinophilc granulomatosis with polyangiitis.

What are the benefits of Mepolizumab (Nucala)?

Mepolizumab has been shown to effectively reduce the size of nasal polyps and improve symptoms associated with CRSwNP, such as nasal congestion, facial pressure, and loss of smell. It can also help decrease the need for oral corticosteroids and sinus surgery in some patients.

It also improves the quality of life of patients affected by CRSwNP.

Frequently Asked Questions

Mepolizumab is administered as an injection under the skin (subcutaneous injection). These can be self-administered or given by one of our nurses or your GP.

It is typically given as one injection every 4-weeks, but the dosage and frequency of injections may be altered by your doctor depending on your response and tolerability of the medication.

Like all medications, Mepolizumab may cause side effects in some people.

Common side effects in study trials included:

  • Injection site reactions (pain, redness, itching, swelling at the injection site); 8% patients
  • Sore throat; 8% patients
  • Joint pains; 6% patients

Uncommon side effects (<5%) included:

  • Fever
  • Abdominal pain
  • Itchy skin rash
  • Diarrhoea

Serious side effects are rare but can occur. Contact your healthcare provider immediately if you experience any of the following:

  • Severe allergic reactions (rash, itching, swelling of the face, tongue, or throat, difficulty breathing).
  • Signs of infection (fever, chills, cough, persistent sore throat, flu-like symptoms).
  • Shingles (painful, itchy rash with localised small blisters on the skin).

Inform your doctor if you have any of the following conditions:

  • Allergy to Mepolizumab or any of its ingredients
  • Current or recent (within the past 6-months) parasitic infection

Whilst no harm on the foetus have been shown in animal studies, the effect of Mepolizumab on human pregnancy is unknown.  It is category B1 medication (drugs which have been taken by only a limited number of women, without an increase in the frequency of malformation or other harmful effects on the child).

Please discuss with your doctor prior to starting the medication.

Mepolizumab is excreted in breast milk in animal studies in very small amounts. Please have a discussion with your doctor about the risks and benefits of Mepolizumab to you and your child whilst breastfeeding.

  • Before starting Mepolizumab, inform your healthcare provider about all medications you are currently taking, including prescription and over-the-counter drugs, as well as any supplements or herbal remedies.
  • It is important to attend all scheduled follow-up appointments with your doctor to monitor your response to treatment and any potential side effects.
  • Mepolizumab may increase the risk of herpes zoster (shingles) infection. Inform your doctor if you have a history of shingles or if you have been in close contact with someone who has active shingles.
  • Keep Mepolizumab out of reach of children and store it according to the instructions provided by your healthcare provider.

Take back control – start your journey today.

We are a leading paediatric and adult Allergy, Immunology and Immunopathology group with clinics in the Sydney CBD and Westmead.

Our specialists hold sub-specialised qualifications in allergy and immunology, and pathology, and offer significant clinical experience.

If you have a question about a condition or treatment, or would like to book an appointment, please contact us and we will be happy to assist you.