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article imageAsthma pill could provide relief for adults with severe asthma

By Karen Graham     Aug 6, 2016 in Health
London - A pill that uses a "twin attack" in treating asthma symptoms could soon become available for adults with severe asthma if further studies continue to go well.
Most of the drugs available for asthma today only ease the symptoms, with some drugs widening the airways, and others using steroids to calm inflammation.
The medication being tested is called Fevipiprant, a twice-daily pill that uses a "twin attack" approach to treating severe asthma. It blocks eosinophilic inflammatory cells floating around in the airway, while also treating the airway lining, stopping it from becoming inflamed and at the same time, repairing the lining.
Fevipiprant was developed by the pharmaceutical firm Novartis and acts as a selective, orally available antagonist of the prostaglandin D2 receptor 2 (DP2 or CRTh2). The medication is in Phase II clinical trials with 846 patients, overseen by the University of Leicester.
But researchers at the University of Leicester also conducted a small trial on 60 patients that lasted 12 weeks. These adult patients had severe asthma, despite using inhalers and seeing a specialist regularly. Half the group took Fevipiprant along with their usual medications and the other half took a placebo along with their usual medication.
The results of this short study were published in the Lancet Respiratory Journal Friday night. The study came up with some remarkable results. Inflammation was reduced by four-fifths to residual levels usually seen in normal healthy people.
In the United Kingdom, about 5.4 million people suffer from asthma, and this pill offers real hope for improving their lives say the researchers, according to the Daily Mail.
Charity Asthma UK said the research showed "massive promise and should be greeted with cautious optimism." This is especially true if the medication can reduce the incidence of flare-ups, which can become life-threatening. The last tablet developed for asthma, called montelukast, reduced inflammation but did not prevent flare-ups.
Doctors have been desperate to find an effective pill for treating asthma because the inhalers are not being used properly. Up to 68 percent of asthma patients don't use their inhalers the correct way, meaning they don't get the full dose of medicine.
Fevipiprant research leader Professor Chris Brightling, of the University of Leicester, said: ‘This drug could be a game-changer for future treatment of asthma." Not only could the new medication be a game-changer, but it would also help in reducing the overall cost of in the management of the disease.
More about asthma pill, Fevipiprant, Novartis, Eosinophilic inflammation, inhalers
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