Jones & Bartlett Learning Medicine Blog

    New Asthma Treatment May Help Patients Breathe a Bit Easier

    Posted by Jennifer Sharp on May 29, 2013 1:00:04 AM

    Nearly 25 million Americans suffer from asthma, a chronic lung disease that inflames the airways and lungs, causing coughing, chest tightness and shortness of breath. Up to 20% of patients are unable to control their condition, leading to decreased lung function, emergency room visits, and hospitalizations. A promising new drug for treating asthma could not only reduce asthma symptoms, but also improve lung function in patients, according to a new study.

    Dupilumab, an experimental drug developed from Sanofi and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, was shown to reduce asthma attacks and helped boost lung function for people with moderate to severe asthma who can't control their symptoms with conventional medicine like inhalers. It is an injectable drug known as a "monoclonal antibody," which is designed to trigger an immune system response. This drug targets two inflammatory compounds -- or cytokines -- called interleukin-4 and interleukin-13, which lead to an immune response that triggers asthma symptoms.

    The trial, which was sponsored by the drug’s makers, included 104 adults with moderate to severe asthma. For 12 weeks, 52 of the participants received dupilumab, and the rest of the participants took a placebo. The researchers saw an 87 percent reduction in asthma attacks was seen in those who received dupilumab when compared with the placebo group. Patients in the dupilumab group also showed significant improvements in lung function, peak flow measures and reductions of asthma symptoms, even once they stopped using their inhalers.

    Dr. Sally Wenzel, the lead investigator of the trial, stated that the trial provided the most promising data in asthma in the last 20 years. "We have been treating asthma with sort of Band-Aid therapies that didn’t get at the underlying causes," told Reuters.

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    Jones & Bartlett Learning offers the following asthma resources:

    100 Questions & Answers About Asthma, Second Edition

    100 Questions & Answers About Your Child's Asthma

    Asthma: A Clinician's Guide

    Tarascon Primary Care Pocketbook Card: Asthma & Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

    Little Black Book of Pulmonary Medicine

    Topics: pharma, medicine, patient education, primary care, allergy, Dupilumab, General Medicine, Sanofi, allergies, asthma, Global Health Blog, pharmaceuticals, Regeneron, Sally Wenzel, trial study

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