PARIS, (Pakistan Point News - APP - 6th August, 2016) - The first new asthma pill in nearly 20 years has led to a sharp improvement in symptoms for chronic sufferers of the disease, according to an early test of the drug. A treatment called fevipiprant eased asthma symptoms, improved lung function, reduced inflammation and repaired the lining of airways, researchers reported on Friday. "This new drug could be a game-changer for future treatment of asthma," said Chris Brightling, a professor at the University of Leicester, central England, who led the study.
Asthma is a long-term disease in which the immune system in the airways goes into overdrive, and wheezing, coughing and restricted breathing are the result. People with chronic asthma can prevent or ease the symptoms by using an inhaler or steroids, but these can have hefty side effects. Fevipiprant seeks to prevent immune cells called eosinophils from moving into the bronchial walls, where they restrict and inflame the airways.
In the trial reported in the British journal The Lancet Respiratory Medicine, researchers enrolled 61 asthmatics and divided them into two groups. One group was given 225mg of the drug twice a day for 12 weeks and the other participants were given a dummy lookalike pill, called a placebo. A key goal was to monitor levels of eosinophils in sputum -- a long-used biomarker of asthma. People who do have not have asthma typically have an eosinophil count of less than one percent, while those with moderate-to-severe asthma have a reading of about five percent. Those who took the drug in the experiment and had moderate-to-severe asthma saw their average count of 5.4 percent fall to 1.1 percent over 12 weeks.