The Sunday Post (Dundee)

‘Game-changing’ asthma drug needs testing before I’ll get excited


THERE’S a new asthma drug which is apparently a “game-changer”.

I was a bit sceptical of the headlines – and not just because game-changer is one of those annoying Americanis­ms which has sneaked into the vernacular.

Hundreds of thousands of people with asthma could have their treatment revolution­ised, said the reports, if they switched from inhalers to a new tablet being developed called Fevipipran­t.

More than 1400 people die of asthma attacks in the UK every year – which is a very small proportion of those with asthma but still an awful lot.

So the potential benefits of a new treatment could indeed be huge, if found to be safe.

This drug, however, is at an early stage and years of testing will be needed.

There was some speculatio­n about how this treatment could spell the end of the inhaler, too.

Patients wouldn’t need to lug them around, apparently, and could instead pop a pill.

The poor inhaler. They’re actually a good way of delivering medicine to the lungs.

A preventer inhaler for instance, can deliver a steroid to the part of the body – the lungs – affected by asthma with much less effect on the rest of the body than if it was taken as a tablet.

Preventer inhalers are used regularly and reduce inflammati­on in the lungs which contribute­s to the symptoms of asthma. A bit like what Fevipipran­t seems to do.

Some people with more severe asthma need to take regular steroids in the form of tablets, and they’re more likely to experience associated side-effects.

These folk could get most benefit from a new drug. So, although we don’t yet know if Fevipipran­t will improve asthma treatment, fingers crossed it does.

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