Tuesday June 19, 2018

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
Children with asthma use inhaler to relieve some of the symptoms. Wikimedia Commons
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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.

Also Read: Mother’s vitamin B levels during pregnancy may affect child’s Eczema risk

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)

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Have Asthma? Don’t Shy Away From Your Doctor

The study cited several young adults feeling uncomfortable taking their medication in public settings

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Have Asthma? Don't Shy Away From Your Doctor
Have Asthma? Don't Shy Away From Your Doctor. Pixabay

Can’t find relief from asthma symptoms? Grill your doctor frequently to better understand your problem, says a study.

In order for asthma treatment to be effective, patients need to increase communication with their physicians, said researchers.

“When patients do not understand their condition or treatment plan, they may not follow life-saving guidelines, putting them at increased risk for asthma attacks,” said allergist and article author Stanley Fineman, past president of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI).

Fineman noted that only eight to 13 percent of asthma sufferers continue to refill inhaled corticosteroid prescriptions after one year.

Taken early and as directed, these inhalers can improve asthma control, normalise lung function and even prevent irreversible injury to airways, said the study published in the journal titled Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.

The study cited several young adults feeling uncomfortable taking their medication in public settings.

Asthma
Children with asthma use inhaler to relieve some of the symptoms. Wikimedia Commons

Several of them do not manage their condition as advised, which can lead to increased asthma attacks and emergency room visits.

“Allergists need to communicate the importance of continuing medication, and patients should express any concerns they might have, such as taking medication in public, since there are often solutions,” said allergist Alan Baptist, an ACAAI member and senior study author.

According to the study, many of young asthma sufferers said they stopped using prescribed medication when symptoms subsided.

Also Read: Human Touch Can Rehabilitate Patients

Although symptoms can become better with time, asthma is a chronic illness. Unless directed by a physician, asthma patients should never change or discontinue preventive medications.

Asthma is a serious disease and discontinuing treatment can be dangerous. “Sufferers need to be sure they regularly take medication and that all of their concerns are being addressed,” added Fineman.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates, 235 million people suffer from asthma worldwide. (IANS)