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Common Blood Pressure Medicine Prevents Lung Damage in Mice

A commonly prescribed blood pressure medicine, losartan (Cozaar), may prevent lung damage caused from exposure to cigarette smoke. That is according to a recent study published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

Working with mice, researchers at Johns Hopkins have successfully used losartan to prevent almost all of the lung damage caused by two months’ exposure to cigarette smoke. As a result of these findings, efforts are currently underway for a clinical trial of the drug in people with smoking-related chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Until now, there have been no known potential treatments to prevent or repair lung damage resulting from exposure to cigarette smoke. This study is considered a breakthrough discovery because it is the first to show that a drug already in clinical use can prevent most of the serious consequences of smoking in an animal test model, preserving both lung structure and function.

“The results of our study in mice suggest that losartan or similar drugs could serve as an effective treatment for smoking-related lung diseases in humans,” says Enid Neptune, M.D., a pulmonologist and an associate professor at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and study senior investigator for the animal experiments. “And because these drugs are already approved for use in the United States as safe and effective treatments for hypertension, incorporating them into our treatment regimen for COPD would be quite rapid.”

Click Here to Access the Full Study from the Journal of Clinical Investigation or Click Here for More Information on This Study from HealthCanal.com.

Antibiotic May Help COPD Patients Breathe Easier

Daily doses of the antibiotic azithromycin may help those suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) breathe easier, according to a recent study published in The New England Journal of Medicine.

 

The study, which was conducted by researchers nationwide, examined the effects of the drug azithromycin in trial participants over the course of a year. During the study, 570 patients were administered 250 milligrams of the common antibiotic, while 572 patients received a placebo pill. All participants suffered from moderate to severe symptoms from COPD and continued to receive additional treatment.

Researchers report that among selected subjects with COPD, azithromycin taken daily for one year, when added to usual treatment, decreased the frequency of exacerbations and improved quality of life.

Compared to the placebo, the antibiotic reduced flare-ups by about 20 percent. At the one-year mark, those in the placebo group had on average 1.83 flare-ups, while those in the antibiotic group had 1.48.

While patients with COPD who experience flare-ups typically receive a course of antibiotics, the long-term treatment using these drugs has not previously been studied.

“There’s been a sense for years that these flares in at least a group of patients with COPD are related to bacterial infections of the lung,” said Dr. Fernando Martinez, director of Pulmonary Diagnostic Services at the University of Michigan Health System and a researcher in this study, during an interview with ABC 7 Los Angeles. “We were able to demonstrate that you could significantly decrease by more than 20 percent the rate of these flare-ups in at-risk people.”

One concern researchers had with this study was that patients on the daily regiment would develop antibiotic resistance. However, while the drugs did increase the amount of antibiotic-resistant microbes in some patients, there were no infections reported. More studies will be needed to look at the long-term effects of the antibiotic treatment.

Click Here to Access the Full Story from the New England Journal of Medicine

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