23 August 2016
A new controlled clinical trial has shown that an experimental pill could help adults with severe asthma.
In the small trial, patients who were given the drug, known as Fevipiprant, had less inflammation in their airways and some patients with uncontrolled asthma felt their symptoms improved, according to the reports in “The Lancet Respiratory Medicine”.
In this study, scientists at the University of Leicester looked at 60 patients who had severe asthma despite using steroid inhalers and being seen regularly by specialists.
Half the group were given the Fevipiprant pill for three months on top of their usual medications and the other half continued to take their normal medication as well as a placebo pill.
Researchers found that while patients took Fevipiprant, they had fewer inflammatory blood cells in their phlegm and airways – which can be key signs of asthma.
“I knew straight away that I had been given the drug. I felt like a completely different person. I had more get up and go, I was less wheezy and for the first time in years, I felt really, really well,” said Gaye Stokes, who has had severe asthma for 16 years.
Gaye, 54, added that once she stopped taking the drug her asthma deteriorated again.
Despite the success recorded, researchers have said that this is still an early proof-of-concept study and larger, long-term trials will be needed to see if the pill can help patients in everyday life.
Meanwhile, Dr. Samantha Walker at Asthma UK said: “This research shows massive promise and should be greeted with cautious optimism.
“The possibility of taking a pill instead of using an inhaler will be a very welcome one, particularly as this study focused on people who develop the condition in later life, some of whom we know can struggle with the dexterity required to use an inhaler.
“More research is needed and we’re a long way off seeing a pill for asthma being made available over the pharmacy counter, but it’s an exciting development,” she said.
Source: the BBC news website
Author: Dotun Obatuyi
My name is Dotun Obatuyi (Dotunoba), I hail from Osun state, a public health scientist (monitoring and evaluation specialist), my keen interests are researching, critiquing and writing feature articles on health, science and technology as well as issues around the globe.