Thursday February 21, 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.

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.

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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Fish Oil Supplements May Not Improve Asthma Symptoms, Says Study

New therapeutic interventions to reduce airway inflammation and facilitate improved asthma control are greatly needed, the team suggested

Man about to use asthma inhaler

Fish oil supplements, once touted as the natural substance that could alleviate many of your chronic ailments, may not prove to be helpful to obese/overweight adolescents and young adults with uncontrolled asthma, new research suggests.

The study, published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, showed that four grams of fish oil a day for six months did not improve asthma control, as measured by a standard asthma control questionnaire, breathing tests, urgent care visits and severe asthma exacerbations.

“We don’t know why asthma control in obese patients is more difficult, but there is growing evidence that obesity causes systemic inflammation,” said lead author Jason E. Lang, Associate Professor at the Duke University in the US.

“Because the omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil have anti-inflammatory properties, we wanted to test whether fish oil would have therapeutic benefits for these patients,” Lang added.

The team included nearly 100 overweight or obese participants aged 12 to 25 and found that the participants had poor asthma control despite using a daily inhaled corticosteroid to control their asthma.

For every three participants assigned to take fish oil for 25 weeks, one was assigned to take the soy oil placebo.

Fish oil may not improve asthma symptoms: Study. Pixabay

In addition, the team also looked at whether a variant in the gene ALOX5 affected the findings. It is known that mutations in the gene can reduce responses to anti-leukotriene drugs.

Leukotrienes are inflammatory molecules that play a critical role in triggering asthma attacks. In this study, the ALOX5 variant did appear to be linked to leukotriene production but not to the effectiveness of fish oil in providing asthma control.

The researchers noted that the study’s negative findings may not be the last word on fish oil and asthma and acknowledged that larger doses of fish oil over a longer period of time may produce a different result.

Also Read- Aspirin, ibuprofen Can Improve Survival Rate of Cancer Patients

However, based on the current study, “there is insufficient evidence for clinicians to suggest to patients with uncontrolled asthma that they should take daily fish oil supplements to help their asthma”, said Lang.

New therapeutic interventions to reduce airway inflammation and facilitate improved asthma control are greatly needed, the team suggested. (IANS)