New asthma pill may be wonder drug for sufferers
But scientists in the United Kingdom have developed an experimental new pill that could reduce the severity of asthma in many adults, according to a new study.
The researchers from Leicester University indicated that asthma sufferers who used the new drug Fevipiprant showed a significant decrease in their symptoms, including a reduction in lung inflammation and improvement in lung function.
“The research suggests that this is a very exciting possibility for those who suffer from asthma,” says Dr. Pankaj Jain, a pulmonologist on staff at Advocate South Suburban Hospital in Hazel Crest, Ill. “Trading an inhaler for a daily pill that appears very effective would be a blessing for many, many people.”
The researchers studied 60 patients who had severe asthma despite using steroid inhalers. Half the people were given Fevipiprant for three months in addition to their regular medicines, while the other half were given a placebo pill instead of Fevipiprant.
The scientists found that patients taking Fevipiprant had fewer inflammatory blood cells in their phlegm and airways, which are key signs of asthma. People without asthma typically have less than a 1 percent reading of these cells, while those with moderate-to-severe asthma have a reading of around 5 percent.
Study results showed that participants with moderate-to-severe asthma who took Fevipiprant reduced their readings from an average of 5.4 percent to just 1.1 percent over the course of 12 weeks.
The drug works by blocking the inflammatory cells from moving from the patient’s blood into the walls of their airways, according to the researchers.
“These results are very promising, and I’m anxious to see further study to confirm the positive effects of the drug,” says Dr. Jain. “We are always looking for better ways to help manage asthma, increase quality of life and keep people safe.”
Fevipiprant is in a phase-III trial in the UK, and the drug has already undergone small-scale safety tests in patients, as well as initial analysis of any side effects.
Another clinical trial looking at Fevipiprant’s effectiveness, which will involve 850 patients, is planned. The results from this larger scale trial will not be available until 2018, and the pill likely won’t hit pharmacy shelves until after that time.
But whether a pill for asthma makes it to market in future years, Dr. Jain recommends that people with asthma work closely with their physicians to deal with their condition. And advocates following the American Lung Association’s suggestions for ongoing management of asthma:
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About the Author
Nate Llewellyn, health enews contributor, is the director of public affairs and marketing at Advocate South Suburban Hospital in Hazel Crest, Ill. Nate began his career as a journalist and builds daily on his nearly 20 years of writing experience. He spends most of his free time following his wife to their two sons’ various activities.