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The First Asthma Pill in 20 Years Shows “Massive Promise” in Reducing Symptoms

Findings from a trial published in Lancet Respiratory Medicine discusses the discoveries of Fevipiprant, the newest pill in 20 years that reduces the symptoms of asthma. The pill is shown to provide instant relief to patients and it has, “actually started to repair the lining of their airways.”

An 80 percent reduction in inflammation has been documented in patients with moderate-to-severe asthma who take two pills per day.

sepy2016_002"This research shows massive promise and should be greeted with cautious optimism," said Samantha Walker of Asthma UK. "The possibility of taking a pill instead of using an inhaler will be a very welcome one among the 5.4 million people in the UK with asthma."

Fevipiprant was tested by researchers from Leicester University and has just passed the phase-lll trial. This indicates that the drug has passed trials that asses the safety and severe side effects of the pill as well as short-term results.

The effects of the drug, “were tested via a series of breathing tests, airway tissue samples, and CT scans of the chest, but one of the main aims of the trial was to observe the effect of Fevipiprant on the patients' airway inflammation.” This is done by measuring the sputum eosinophil count, or measuring for inflammation.

"The rate in people with moderate-to-severe asthma taking [Fevipiprant] was reduced from an average of 5.4 percent to 1.1 percent over 12 weeks," Fevipiprant researchers said.

The researchers also claimed that the effects of the drug, along with research that supports the repair of damaged airway tissue, could have significant impacts on severe asthma patients. This drug could allow these patients to discontinue the use of strong medications used to help manage their disease.

“I’m really excited by this because this is the first treatment that I’m aware of that has been able to show effects across the board," lead researcher Chris Brightling said. Brighling claims that the drug should be on the market within three years’ time.

Click Here to Access the Full Article on ScienceAlert

OTC Smoking Cessation Products Can Be Equally Effective as Rx Methods

Feb2016_02A recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found over-the-counter (OTC) products, such as nicotine patches, were equally effective for smoking cessation as prescription drugs like Chantix.

The study researched 1086 smokers, in which about 20% of those studied were able to successfully quit tobacco, regardless of the treatment used. The only adverse affects that were recorded were vivid dreams, insomnia and nausea for those participants using Chantix.

Lead study author Tim Baker, a public health researcher at the University of Wisconsin Center for Tobacco Research and Intervention, said “the results suggest that the widely available, simple to use nicotine patch can produce long-term smoking cessation rates that are similar to those produced by more intense treatments”.

This study is important because we live in a time where pharmacists have the ability to help patients to choose the most effective smoking cessation products. Overall, the results show that those patients who choose an OTC product will often spend less and see the same level of success as those taking a prescription medication.

Click Here to Access the Full Story at Pharmacy Times

A New Is Patch Helping COPD Patients Exercise

Nov2015_1According to a recent study posted in Clinical Research in Pulmonology, a transdermal tulobuterol patch may help patients suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) “exercise for longer at a relatively high intensity”. Because COPD often limits the ability to perform even menial physical activity, this patch could vastly improve quality of life and revolutionize therapies for those living with COPD.

The patch “was designed to maintain [tulobuterol, a long-acting bronchodilator] level at constant, effective concentrations over a 24-hour period” according to lead researcher Yoshiaki Minakata of the Third Department of Internal Medicine in Wakayama Medical University.

While the study only had eight participants, the treatment did show improvement in the “duration of physical activity for most of the patients.” Since the participation was limited in this primary study, the researchers have suggested any future studies be conducted with larger cohorts in which “the influence of comorbidities and muscular weakness” are more clearly stated. 

It has been shown in other studies that increased exercise helps to strengthen the lungs, improving function over a period of time. The difficult part for COPD patients is often the exercising itself. By providing an easy-to-apply patch that helps release a drug over a period of time, COPD patients are more likely to find exercising less exhaustive and more beneficial to the treatment of their condition.

Click Here to Access the Full Story in HCP Live

Inhalers Linked to Increased Risk of Diabetes in Asthma, COPD Patients

Asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) patients who are treated with inhaled corticosteroids may have a significantly higher risk for both the development and progression of diabetes, according to research published in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine.

Analyzing data from more than 380,000 respiratory patients in Quebec, lead investigator Samy Suissa and team discovered a 34 percent increase in the rate of new diabetes diagnoses and diabetes progression in those patients using inhalers. Patients treated with the highest-dose inhalers are at even greater risk, with a 64 percent increase in the onset of diabetes and a 54 percent increase in diabetes progression.

Over the five and a half year study period, more than 30,000 COPD/asthma patients developed a new diagnosis of diabetes, while 2,100 patients diagnosed with diabetes before using inhalers experienced a worsening of their disease that ultimately required upgrading their diabetes care from pills to insulin shots.

“I would say that a lot more attention should first be paid to the lifestyle choices, dietary-wise, that lead to the pro-inflammatory conditions that raise the risk for both type 2 diabetes as well as COPD and asthma,” said Dr. Stuart Weiss, an endocrinologist with the New York University Medical Center, in a recent press release.

Weiss believes the root of the problem is not the steroids but the fact that those who are at risk for diabetes are the same people who have asthma and COPD that require steroid treatment.

“Yes, we do know that steroids increase insulin resistance and that people treated with steroids require more aggressive diabetes management,” Weiss conceded. “But if we don’t generally take an approach that deals with the poor quality of food that people are routinely consuming, the incidence of both these diseases will continue to go up at a dramatic rate.”

Based on the study, researchers suggest that patients treated with high doses of inhaled corticosteroids be assessed for possible hyperglycemia. Further, they believe the use of such high doses of inhalers be limited to situations where the benefit is clear.

Click Here to Access the Full Story from the U.S. News & World Report

Inhaled Corticosteroid Therapy in COPD Patients Reduces Pneumonia Mortality

Patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) who are hospitalized for pneumonia and treated with inhaled corticosteroids (ICS) have decreased mortality compared to those who are not treated with ICS, according to a recent study published in The American Thoracic Society’s American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

The study examined the medical records of nearly 16,000 COPD patients over the age of 55 who had been admitted to Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) hospitals for pneumonia between 2002 and 2007. Roughly half of these patients had been treated with ICS (52.5 percent) and half had not (47.5 percent).

When researchers analyzed the causes of mortality between the two groups for both 30- and 90-day intervals, there were significant differences. For 30-day mortality, 10.2 percent of ICS users died, compared to 13.6 percent of those who were not treated with ICS. For 90-day mortality, 17.3 percent of ICS users died, compared to 22.8 percent who were not treated with ICS. Overall, those who were not treated with ICS had about a 25 percent greater mortality risk than those who were treated with ICS.

“These results have clear implications for current clinical practice, which has been informed in the past by a series of studies that found an increased risk of pneumonia with ICS use,” said Eric Mortensen, MD, investigator at Veterans Evidence-based Research, Dissemination, and Implementation Center (VERDICT), a VA Health Services Research and Development program, and principal investigator on the study, in a press release issued by the American Thoracic Society.

He continued, “In contrast, our study would suggest that ICS use may confer a survival benefit to these patients and may be employed when there are not contraindications. These results should reassure clinicians that they can give their COPD patients ICS without fearing that the increased risk of pneumonia will translate into higher risk of mortality.”

Click Here to Access the Full Study from the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine

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