Biologics for Nasal Polyps: How They Work and Who They’re For

For the patients who qualify, biologics can be life-changing.

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If symptoms of nasal polyps are getting in the way of your everyday life, there’s some good news. You have a wide range of treatment options available. Treatment for nasal polyps can help shrink the polyps, stop them from coming back, or prevent complications. One new treatment option is biologics for nasal polyps.

Biologics aren’t right for everyone. Your doctor will likely offer a number of less aggressive treatments first. Those milder treatments may be enough to treat your polyps, and with fewer side effects than biologics. Learn more about common treatment options for nasal polyps here.

How Biologics for Nasal Polyps Work

Biologics are a category of medication prescribed for a number of inflammatory diseases. For example, biologics are a common treatment for inflammatory arthritis conditions like rheumatoid arthritis.

Inflammation is a result of your immune system. Normally, your immune system recognizes something as a threat (such as a virus) and attacks. This causes tissue in the area to become inflamed, resulting in redness, swelling, and pain. (That’s why your skin gets red and puffy if you get a cat scratch, for example.)

Some people have hyper-reactive immune systems. For example, the immune system may respond to dust mites or pollen as a serious threat in people with allergies. The immune system attacks the substances and causes inflammation in the airways. Then, long-term inflammation from allergies or asthma increases the risk of getting nasal polyps.

Here’s where biologics come in. They target the part of the immune system that creates inflammation. By “turning off” this part of the immune system, you can stop the inflammation that causes nasal polyps to grow.

The Right Candidate for Nasal Polyps

Biologics can be very effective, but they’re not the right option for everyone. In general, your doctor will start you with the least aggressive treatment option possible. Later, you may move on to other therapies, such as biologics. The goal is to help you find relief without causing serious side effects.

Biologics can be expensive, and they can come with many side effects. For this reason, biologics for nasal polyps are ideal for patients who:

  • Have not found relief from other treatments
  • Cannot take other treatments
  • Have had multiple surgeries to remove polyps
  • Continue having polyps grow back

Your doctor will weigh the pros versus the cons of using biologics. For patients who fit the above description, biologics for nasal polyps may be life-changing and worth the potential side effects.

Either way, talk to a doctor if you don’t think your nasal polyps treatment is working, or if you’re interested in starting treatment for nasal polyps. Biologics may or may not be the right fit for you, but you and your doctor can work together to find the best option.