Saturday August 24, 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

Children with Mild Asthma can Effectively Manage Condition by Using Two Inhalers

Patients in the group that used both inhalers as needed used about one-fourth the steroid dose of the group that inhaled a prescribed daily amount

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Children, Mild, Asthma
The steroid inhaler lowers inflammation and the bronchodilator, also known as a rescue inhaler, relaxes the airway during an asthma attack to quickly make breathing easier, according to the study published. Pixabay

Researchers have found that children with mild asthma can effectively manage the condition by using their two inhalers — one a steroid and the other a bronchodilator — when symptoms occur.

The steroid inhaler lowers inflammation and the bronchodilator, also known as a rescue inhaler, relaxes the airway during an asthma attack to quickly make breathing easier, according to the study published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice.

“Patients in the group that used both inhalers as needed used about one-fourth the steroid dose of the group that inhaled a prescribed daily amount. We also were pleased to see that the patients and families felt that they had more ownership over their asthma management when practicing as-needed treatment,” said study first author Kaharu Sumino, Associate Professor at the Washington University.

The researchers found that this approach reduced the amount of steroid medication the children took monthly by almost 75 per cent.

Children, Mild, Asthma
Researchers have found that children with mild asthma can effectively manage the condition by using their two inhalers — one a steroid and the other a bronchodilator — when symptoms occur. Pixabay

The study included 206 African American children six to 17 years of age with mild asthma that was adequately controlled with asthma controller steroid medication. The patients were randomly assigned to one of two groups.

Each participant in one group was advised to take a dose from an inhaler containing the steroid beclomethasone as needed when symptoms arose, along with the rescue bronchodilator albuterol.

Each participant in the second group was advised to take a specific inhaled dose of the steroid beclomethasone daily, regardless of symptoms, plus the rescue bronchodilator as needed in response to symptoms.oo

At the end of the one-year study, the researchers found no differences between groups in surveys of how well the patients’ asthma was controlled, as well as no differences in breathing tests that measure lung function.

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However, the group taking daily beclomethasone, an inhaled corticosteroid, used more of the medication per month than those in the symptom-based group.

On average, children in the daily-use group used 1,961 micrograms per month, while the symptom-based group used 526 micrograms per month, cutting the amount of this medication by almost three-fourths. The reduced amount is desirable, according to the investigators, because steroids have side effects that include stunted growth. (IANS)