Friday August 17, 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 Patients May be Over-Medicating. 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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40% of Women with Asthma Have a Risk of Developing Chronic Lung Diseases

Previous studies have found an alarming rise in ACOS in women in recent years and that the mortality rate from ACOS was higher in women than men.

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The researchers examined risk factors for developing asthma and COPD overlap syndrome, known as ACOS.. Flickr Commons

More than 4 in 10 individuals with asthma run the risk of developing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), a group of lung diseases that block airflow and make it harder to breathe, says a new study involving around 4,000 women.

The researchers examined risk factors for developing asthma and COPD overlap syndrome, known as ACOS.

The findings, published in the journal Annals of the American Thoracic Society, showed that individual risk factors played a more significant role in the development of ACOS than exposure to fine particulate matter, a major air pollutant that because of its microscopic size penetrates deep into the lungs.

Women who had smoked more than the equivalent of a pack of cigarettes a day for five years, were much more likely to develop ACOS than those who smoked fewer cigarettes or never smoked.

However, ACOS did not affect only those who smoke as the researchers found that 38 per cent of the women who developed ACOS in the study had never smoked.

Lady With An Asthma Inhaler
The study also identified obesity, rural as significant risk factors for ACOS. VOA

The study also identified obesity, rural residence, lower education levels and unemployment as significant risk factors for ACOS.

The authors believe that these factors may result in suboptimal access to care, under-treatment of asthma and poor compliance to medications, all of which lead to more frequent asthma attacks.

These attacks in turn may lead to airway remodelling that increases the chances of developing ACOS.

Also Read: Lung Function Decline in Elderly Can be Delayed by Consuming Flavonoid

“Previous studies have found an alarming rise in ACOS in women in recent years and that the mortality rate from ACOS was higher in women than men,” said Teresa To, Professor atUniversity of Toronto in Canada.

“We urgently need to identify and quantify risk factors associated with ACOS in women to improve their health and save lives,” To added. (IANS)