If you have asthma, you know that often you get severe bouts of wheezing and you may need to double up on your dose with an extra puff from your inhaler or even take additional medication.
But a new study, published in The Lancet, has found that a new single inhaler can have a 3-in-1 benefit as it uses a combination drug to give some relief.
According to an article in The New York Times, respiratory specialist and lead researcher J. Christian Virchow said, “This three-in-one treatment has an advantage in a relatively broad population of moderate to severe asthmatics.”
According to the report, despite its wide prevalence, asthma is hard to effectively treat in about 5 to 10 percent of patients. For these, doctors often prescribe a third drug, known as a long-acting muscarinic antagonist, which needs a spare inhaler and dosing pattern and is costly, at $30,000 per year in the US.
Doctors added that adding a new inhaler to the mix is often an added burden that patients do not end up taking, and herein lies the benefit of the new 3-in1 inhaler.
How Does the New Inhaler Help?
According to the Lancet, the drug was sponsored by Italian drugmaker Chiesi Farmaceutici.
To check for its efficacy, the drug was tested against 2,500 asthma patients from 17 different countries between 2016-2018. They were aged from 18-75 years and had poor lung function. On top of that, these recruitees also ended up at the hospital due to a severe asthma attack in the past 12 months.
The study involved making two groups, one which used the double inhaler and one which tested out the new triple inhaler.
According to The New York Times, the group with the triple inhaler “were able to exhale 185 milliliters more than they could before the treatment, and 57 milliliters more than patients taking just two medications, indicating that their airways were less constricted.”
Additionally, it also reduced the incidences of severe asthma attacks. The researchers added that while the results were not that drastic, this method still improved patients’ quality of life.
However, the drawbacks of the study are its restricted sample size as all the patients were white adults. Then, once the FDA approves it, it can be released to the general public as an option to make breathing easier.
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(With inputs from The New York Times)
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