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Swimmer backs at-risk asthma drug

13 November 2012 15:16

A 'life changing' asthma treatment could be discontinued on the NHS

A 'life changing' asthma treatment could be discontinued on the NHS

A "life changing" asthma treatment which enabled a professional swimmer to compete in the London 2012 Olympics could be discontinued on the NHS.

Xolair enabled Olympic swimmer Jo Jackson to compete in the games by preventing painful asthma attacks during training.

The swimmer, who competed in the 400m freestyle this summer, said the drug enabled her to "resurrect" her career.

After winning bronze in the Beijing Games four years ago Jackson said her future career was at risk due to severe asthma attacks.

Now the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice) said that Xolair, also known as omalizumab, should not be used by the NHS to treat severe, persistent allergic asthma in adults and children.

The drug is currently used alongside standard treatments for severe asthma.

The news could prove detrimental for a range of asthma sufferers including those who are planning to travel overseas for sporting events in the future.

Nice made the decision after considering evidence including newly available mortality data, it said.

Jackson said: "Thanks to Xolair, I was able to get my asthma under control and compete in London 2012 just a couple of years after my future as a swimmer appeared to be in jeopardy due to my asthma."