New dual dose inhaler slashes the number of patients suffering serious asthma attacks by a quarter
- Eight million Britons suffer from asthma which is an incurable lung condition
- Asthmatics suffer shortness of breath with 60,000 needing hospital each year
- A new dual dose inhaler has produced promising results during recent trials
A new type of inhaler for asthma sufferers could radically reduce their risk of developing life-threatening breathing difficulties.
A trial found that the new inhaler, which combines two medications that are currently taken separately to treat the lung condition, cut the number of patients suffering severe asthma attacks by a quarter.
Asthma affects eight million Britons, or 12 per cent of the population, and sufferers can experience serious breathing difficulties when it causes their airways to become inflamed. Each year this leads to 60,000 hospital admissions and more than 1,000 deaths.
Asthma affects eight million Britons, or 12 per cent of the population, and sufferers can experience serious breathing difficulties when it causes their airways to become inflamed. Each year this leads to 60,000 hospital admissions and more than 1,000 deaths
There’s no cure for the condition, but regular medication can help keep symptoms under control
There’s no cure for the condition, but regular medication can help keep symptoms under control.
Asthmatics are treated with two inhalers, both of which fire a burst of medication directly into the airways to treat inflammation.
The first – usually brown – is used regularly to prevent symptoms developing. The second – usually blue – is used to relieve symptoms during an asthma attack. While they are extremely effective when used correctly, many asthma patients fail to use the brown ‘preventer’ inhaler regularly.
It is hoped combining the two drugs into one will make it easier for patients to treat themselves.
Professor Tim Harrison, an asthma expert at Nottingham University who was involved in the trial, said: ‘This could lead to a dramatic reduction in the number of asthma attacks we see. These can lead to hospital admissions and occasionally deaths.’
The trial split more than 3,000 patients into two groups.
One group was given the new inhaler – known as PT027 – and the other continued using their regular blue and brown inhalers.
By the end of the trial, the patients using the PT027 inhaler had a 27 per cent reduced risk of a serious asthma attack.
The PT027 inhaler is currently pending approval by US health chiefs, and Prof Harrison says he hopes that it will become available to asthma sufferers on the NHS in due course.
Brian Johnson, 45, from Keyworth, Nottingham, took part in the trial having suffered from severe asthma since he was a child.
The married director of an engineering company said that he noticed marked improvement in his symptoms, adding: ‘I would very happily change over to using it full-time.’