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Possible alternate therapy for adults with poorly controlled asthma
Date:9/19/2010

derstand which patients respond best to tiotropium. Then we will need to conduct longer-term studies to establish its safety for asthma patients and to determine its effect on the frequency and severity of asthma exacerbations."

Conducted by the NHLBI's Asthma Clinical Research Network, the study compared three treatment methods: doubling the dose of inhaled corticosteroids alone, supplementing a low dose of inhaled corticosteroids with a long-acting beta agonist (salmeterol), and supplementing a low dose of inhaled corticosteroids with a long-acting anticholinergic drug (tiotropium bromide). Anticholinergics block a part of the autonomic nervous system that can cause airway muscles to contract. The study followed 210 adults whose asthma was not well-controlled on low doses of inhaled corticosteroids alone. Participants received each treatment for 14 weeks with two-week breaks in between, for a total of 48 weeks.

Tiotropium bromide was shown to be effective using several asthma control measurements, including patients' day-to-day lung function as well as the number of days in which they had no asthma symptoms and did not need to use their albuterol rescue inhalers. When patients began the trial, their average number of such "asthma control days" was 77 per year (extrapolated from the treatment period). Doubling corticosteroids gave patients another 19 symptom-free days on average, while adding tiotropium to low-dose corticosteroids gave them another 48.

"Much research over the last century has explored the role of cholinergic mechanisms [which constrict the airways] and anticholinergic therapies in asthma. However, this is the first study to explore adding an anticholinergic inhaler to low-dose inhaled corticosteroids," said James Kiley, Ph.D., director of the NHLBI's Division of Lung Diseases. "The Asthma Clinical Research Network is designed to address exactly these kinds of practical and important management questions, with the
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Contact: NHLBI Communications Office
NHLBI_news@nhlbi.nih.gov
301-496-4236
NIH/National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute
Source:Eurekalert

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