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First do no harm? UH prof taking opposite approach to treat asthma
Date:4/9/2008

HOUSTON, April 9, 2008 One month of tough breathing may help asthma sufferers breathe easier in the long run, according to research from one University of Houston professor.

In a move that challenges one of the most basic tenets of the Hippocratic Oath first do no harm Richard Bond, associate professor of pharmacology at UH, is relying on a long-standing medical taboo to treat asthma. Although counterintuitive, Bonds studies are reminiscent of hair-of-the-dog folk wisdom to treat like with like, in this case using beta blockers (or antagonists) instead of stimulants (or agonists) in asthmatics.

Coining the term paradoxical pharmacology treating patients with medicine that initially worsens their symptoms before eventually improving their overall health Bond first applied this hypothesis in studies with mice and then moved on to two clinical trials with humans. Currently in the second clinical trial, the part of this research analyzing mice was recently published in the American Journal of Respiratory Cell and Molecular Biology, which cited the relevance of Bonds work as possibly leading to a paradigm shift in the treatment of asthma. The results of the first human trial were also recently published in Pulmonary Pharmacology and Therapeutics.

Acute asthma attacks have traditionally been treated with inhaler-type stimulant drugs that open constricted airways. Giving beta blockers to asthmatics has long been thought to be contraindicated, because their acute use may cause increased airway resistance. While the use of beta-stimulants is known to provide temporary relief, their effectiveness declines over time.

Bonds tests initially done on asthmatic mice and later replicated in his first clinical trial with humans showed that while beta blockers initially made breathing problems worse, their continued use resulted in improved respiratory function after a 28-day period. These longer-term effects demonstrate th
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Contact: Lisa Merkl
lkmerkl@uh.edu
713-743-8192
University of Houston
Source:Eurekalert  

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