A new asthma drug that could revolutionise the treatment of the 500,000 Britons with moderate or severe versions of the condition and reduce the number of deaths from has been hailed as a “gamechanger”.
Asthma treatment has barely changed over 20 years, with those who cannot easily control their condition relying on inhalers or using steroids which carry a high risk of weight gain, diabetes, osteoporosis and high blood pressure.
But the development of the drug, called Fevipiprant, opens up the possibility that the 250,000 people with this more severe form of the disease could now take a pill twice a day instead of relying on those methods. It could also benefit at least another 250,000 people who have the more moderate form of the disease.
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The expert in severe breathing conditions who oversaw the latest trial of the drug said its potential effectiveness was so great that it could halve both patients’ risk of suffering an asthma attack and being admitted to hospital.
The clinical trial of Fevipiprant, conducted by experts at Leicester University, found that it led to a big drop in the the symptoms of asthma, improved sufferers’ lung function, reduced inflammation of the lungs and also helped to repair the lining of patients’ airways.
“This new drug could be a gamechanger for future treatment of asthma”, said Chris Brightling, the senior research fellow and clinical professor in respiratory medicine at Leicester University who led the research study. “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.
“I’m excited by how effective it’s likely to be and also about its potential to reduce the need for patients to take oral steroids. Those people would be able to stop taking those drugs, which would make a huge difference to them.”
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