Saturday December 7, 2019

Study Shows Eczema Drug is Effective Against Severe Asthma

An eczema drug may help alleviate asthma symptoms as well as improve patients' lung function better than standard therapies, results from twin studies have shown.

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Asthma
Asthma Patients May be Over-Medicating. Wikimedia Commons

An eczema drug may help alleviate asthma symptoms as well as improve patients’ lung function better than standard therapies, results from twin studies have shown.

Dupilumab, an injectable anti-inflammatory drug, was approved in 2017 by the US Food and Drug Administration as a treatment for eczema, a chronic skin disease.

The findings showed that the rate of asthma exacerbations — such as such as wheezing, coughing, shortness of breath and tightness in the chest — was almost cut in half for those taking dupilumab compared with those taking a placebo.

“This drug not only reduced severe symptoms of asthma, it improved the ability to breathe,” said Mario Castro, Professor at the Washington University in St. Louis.

“That’s important because these patients have a chronic disabling disease that worsens over time with the loss of lung function. So far, we do not have a drug for asthma that changes the course of the disease,” Castro added.

By joining two drugs, one of Arthritis could be solution to skin cancer: Wikimedia commons

Although the drug significantly reduced asthma symptoms for all patients, dupilumab worked particularly well in patients with high numbers of a specific type of white blood cell, called eosinophils, circulating in the bloodstream.

For those patients, asthma exacerbations were cut by two-thirds, the researchers said.

The drug also helped wean severe asthma patients off of chronic oral steroids, which can cause debilitating long-term side effects, including stunted growth, diabetes, cataracts and osteoporosis, Castro said.

For the studies, published in The New England Journal of Medicine, the team included more than 2,000 patients who suffered from moderate to severe asthma.

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In patients with moderate to severe asthma who used at least three different inhalers to control their symptoms, dupilumab drug, regardless of dose, improved lung function by approximately 130-200 milliliters greater than those receiving the placebo.

The drug also improved their rates of emergency room (ER) visits and hospitalizations. (IANS)

Next Story

Flavoured E-Cigarettes Affect Airways, Worsen Asthma

Certain flavoured e-cigarettes, even without nicotine, may change how airways, affected by an allergic disease, function, thus worsening the severity of asthma

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e-cigarettes, flavoured, asthma, airways
A flavour multipack for the Juul vaping device. Sweet-flavored electronic cigarettes promote youth vaping. Wikimedia Commons

Certain flavoured e-cigarettes, even without nicotine, may change how airways, affected by an allergic disease, function, thus worsening the severity of diseases such as asthma, say researchers.

For the first time, a model of asthma was used to investigate the effect of a range of popular e-cigarette flavours, with and without nicotine.

“This is especially important for those with respiratory disease, whom are vulnerable to the effects of smoking,” Dr Chapman said.

“The majority of e-cigarette smokers use flavoured liquids but there is some evidence that flavour additives can be toxic when inhaled,” said Dr David Chapman from from the University of Technology Sydney (UTS).

The use of e-cigarettes has dramatically increased in the past few years, especially among younger smokers globally.

e-cigarettes, flavoured, asthma, airways
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said Friday that they were investigating 215 cases of a serious lung disease possibly related to the use of e-cigarettes. VOA

Despite the suggestion they are a healthier alternative to tobacco cigarettes, there is a lack of evidence in both animal studies and human data on the effect of e-cigarettes on lung function.

The researchers found that some flavoured e-cigarettes, even in the absence of nicotine, can worsen disease severity.

“The exact effects on features of asthma were dependent upon the specific flavour, suggesting not all flavoured e-cigarettes will have the same consequences on lung health,” Dr Chapman said in the study published in Scientific Reports.

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In this study, the flavour Black Licorice exaggerated airway inflammation whereas Cinnacide had the opposite effect, suppressing airway inflammation.

The researchers didn’t analyse the liquids directly, to confirm what they contained, however there is evidence from previous research that flavours categorised as “buttery/creamy” and “cinnamon”, which likely include “Banana Pudding” and “Cinnacide”, respectively, are toxic.

Caution should be taken in promoting the use of flavoured e-cigarettes to patients with respiratory disease such as asthma and that policy makers should consider restricting the use of flavoured e-cigarettes, the team added. (IANS)