Navigation Links
Study Offers Clues to Why Some Don't Benefit From Asthma Drugs

By Kathleen Doheny
HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, Jan. 6 (HealthDay News) -- Almost half of patients with mild or moderate asthma may have a different type of disease than those with more severe symptoms, perhaps explaining why common treatments don't work well for them, new research suggests.

"We are beginning to understand that different 'flavors' of asthma probably have different molecular mechanisms," said Dr. John Fahy, director of the Airway Clinical Research Center at the University of California, San Francisco. He is the senior author of the new study, published online Friday in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

Asthma is a chronic disease involving inflamed airways. As the airways become more swollen, the muscles around them can tighten when something triggers symptoms such as coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath.

Current anti-inflammatory treatments target a condition called eosinophilic airway inflammation, which is common in asthma. Eosinophils are a type of white blood cell that help fight off infection and play a role in the immune response.

However, the new research finds that nearly half of the 995 patients studied did not have this condition.

Fahy's team repeatedly measured these white blood cells in sputum samples of the volunteers with asthma who were enrolled in nine clinical trials.

Nearly half, or 47 percent, had no airway eosinophilia on any test of their sputum. Some had the condition intermittently and some had it on each test.

The investigators found that only 36 percent of those not taking an inhaled corticosteroid, an anti-inflammatory, had the condition, while 17 percent of those who used the inhaled steroids did.

After two weeks of giving the participants anti-inflammatories and bronchodilator therapy, Fahy found those with the airway eosinophilia responded and had better airflow. But those who didn't have the condition did not respond. The responses to the bronchodilators -- other medicines commonly used for asthma that work by helping to open the bronchial tubes -- were similar in both groups, however.

Previous studies looked at a single sample to assess whether those with asthma had the white blood cell involvement, Fahy explained, while this study looked at many over time.

"This study reinforces the idea that asthma is not a one-type disease," he said.

Even within the nearly 50 percent without the white blood cell involvement, there are probably many different subtypes, Fahy noted.

The test used was a complicated research test, Fahy pointed out, and it is not easily done in clinical practice.

Based on the study results, researchers might next work on a simpler test to determine if those with asthma have involvement of these white blood cells, he said. Eventually, the findings may help doctors better individualize asthma treatment.

The findings suggest that a sizeable group of people with mild to moderate asthma have a type of disease that is not typical, with poorly understood mechanisms, and that new treatments will be needed, Fahy concluded.

"The finding that half of these had the absence of eosinophils in the sputum was a little surprising," said Dr. Len Horovitz, a pulmonary specialist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City.

"It's higher than I thought," Horovitz said. The "cascade" of inflammation in asthma -- what happens to bring on the symptoms -- has been well studied, he noted. However, "we can't guarantee that our current regimen of bronchodilators plus inhaled corticosteroids is going to work, even in mild asthma," Horovitz explained.

Doctors should ask their patients with asthma if they produce a lot of sputum, Horovitz suggested. If they do, they tend to respond to the corticosteroids.

More information

To learn more about asthma, visit the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.

SOURCES: John V. Fahy, M.D., director, Airway Clinical Research Center, University of California, San Francisco; Len Horovitz, M.D., internist and pulmonary specialist, Lenox Hill Hospital, New York City; Jan. 6, 2012, American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, online

Copyright©2010 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. Mice Exposed to Smoke Helped by Blood Pressure Drug: Study
2. Global Study Finds Drug Abuse Highest in Richer Nations
3. Diabetes Care Thwarted by Unstable Health Insurance: Study
4. Moderate red wine drinking may help cut womens breast cancer risk, Cedars-Sinai study shows
5. Mental Decline Can Start at 45, Study Finds
6. Study finds statin costs 400 percent higher in US compared to UK
7. Drug Eases Gout Flare-ups in Some Patients: Study
8. Study Reveals Whos More Prone to Be a Mean Drunk
9. Kaiser Permanente study finds continuous health coverage essential for patients managing diabetes
10. Safety-First Playgrounds Linked to Bored, Inactive Kids: Study
11. U-M study shows updated rotavirus vaccine not linked to increase in bowel obstruction
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
Study Offers Clues to Why Some Don't Benefit From Asthma Drugs
(Date:11/30/2015)... NC (PRWEB) , ... November 30, 2015 , ... ... practices in 2016. In 2016, expected coding changes are likely to include new ... service codes. It’s not easy to understand the effects of code changes in ...
(Date:11/29/2015)... ... November 30, 2015 , ... ... new company, Sublime Beauty NATURALS®. All products are available on Amazon or its ... oils, organic facial serums and USDA Certified Organic Sesame Oil for Oil Pulling," ...
(Date:11/29/2015)... (PRWEB) , ... November 29, 2015 , ... NewsWatch featured ... technology products available to consumers. Amanda Forstrom, a technology expert and special reporter for ... be a reality in the future. , It’s the future because flying cars are ...
(Date:11/29/2015)... CA (PRWEB) , ... November 29, 2015 , ... ... all new and unique analog distortion effect tool designed specially for Final Cut ... footage, and create limiltess looks with the easy-to-use modification controls. Destoying and creating ...
(Date:11/28/2015)... ... 28, 2015 , ... Safe storage for contraceptive devices may not always be ... New Jersey and the other from Bradley Beach, New Jersey, there is an easy ... of having to replace NuvaRings more often than necessary. As such, it affords peace ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/30/2015)...  Hanger, Inc. (NYSE: HGR ) (the "Company") ... of its previously announced consent solicitation (as amended and ... principal amount 7⅛% Senior Notes due 2018 (the "Notes") ... payable pursuant to the Consent Solicitation, (ii) the proposed ... expiration date of the Consent Solicitation.    ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... 2015  Novartis will demonstrate the strength of its ... American Society of Hematology (ASH) Annual Meeting. Presentations will ... as supportive care, including key findings in rare and ... The ASH Annual Meeting will be held December 5-8 ... Novartis Oncology . "We will be presenting encouraging overall ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... , Nov. 30, 2015   VolitionRx Limited (NYSE ... diagnostic tests for a broad range of cancer types and ... LD Micro Conference, which will be held December 1 - 3 ... from VolitionRx will be David Kratochvil , Chief Financial ... of Investor Relations. ® blood-based tests for ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: