Skip to comments.New drug shows benefits against nasty asthma
Posted on 03/11/2009 1:44:07 AM PDT by neverdem
Mepolizumab prevents some ER visits in people with a severe form of asthma
An experimental drug called mepolizumab can prevent severe asthma attacks in people with an uncommon form of the disease that responds poorly to standard steroid medications, researchers report in two studies in the March 5 New England Journal of Medicine.
Scientists from Britain and Canada also find that a simple test of sputum (coughed up matter) can reveal which patients would most likely benefit from mepolizumab. Thus the drug might help some people with asthma reduce the use of steroids such as prednisone, which have side effects, says Ian Pavord, a pulmonologist at Glenfield Hospital and University of Leicester in England and coauthor of one of the studies.
Asthma is a chronic disease in which the airways become inflamed, constricted, scarred and laden with mucus. The wheezing and shortness of breath that asthma causes and the frightening struggle for air felt in a severe asthma attack can be brought on by allergens, fumes, stress and even exercise or cold air.
An immune system overreaction to these triggers underlies the disease. Mepolizumab quells the reaction by neutralizing the effect of interleukin-5, an immune protein that activates circulating immune cells called eosinophils and recruits new ones from nascent cells in the bone marrow. The normally trustworthy eosinophils run amok in 50 to 60 percent of people with asthma.
Fortunately, most people with eosinophil-based asthma respond well to steroid treatment delivered by inhalers, says Paul OByrne, a physician at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ont., who coauthored the Canadian study.
But in about one in 10 of these patients, steroids eventually lose their punch. These people are really difficult to treat, OByrne says. Since mepolizumab targets eosinophils specifically, it made sense to test the drug in these patients...
(Excerpt) Read more at sciencenews.org ...
Hrm, inhaler delivered steroids have been in general a total waste of time for me. Prednisone on the other hand is almost magical in its effectiveness, too bad about the side effects :(
When allergy season is here, I just carry my nebulizer with me for asthma attacks - the new rescue inhalers are akin to taking a puff of nothing but air for me. I also get a steroid/allergy (Kennalog fast acting/long lasting combo)shot every three months as well rather than take prednisone. It really helps me.
to read later
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