A new 3-in-1 asthma drug may provide better and easier control of symptoms for tough-to-treat patients, two new studies suggest.
Trials involved more than 2,500 asthma patients across 17 countries.
Patients tested out an inhaler that contained three drugs: q steroid preventer to control inflammation; a long-acting bronchodilator to keep airways open; and a drug called glycopyrronium to help boost airflow.
The researchers found that putting the three drugs in a single inhaler was more effective in preventing moderate-to-severe asthma attacks than standard therapy with two medicines.
In a news release from a journal, The Lancet, study Co-Author Sandrine Corre said, “Given the reduction, we saw in the annual rate of severe asthma attacks, we expect it will provide an attractive [treatment] option.”
The two trials of the three-drug inhaler were funded by Italian Pharmaceutical Company, Chiesi Farmaceutici, with results published in the journal on Sept. 30. The results were also presented this week at the annual meeting of the European Respiratory Society in Madrid, Spain.
Medical Director at Staten Island University Hospital, in New York City, Theodore Maniatis, explained that simpler is always better when it comes to asthma care.
“The more complicated the inhalational regimen or any regimen, the less likely a patient will comply with the therapy,” said Dir. Maniatis, who wasn’t involved in the new trials.
Dir. Maniatis added, “Once-a-day therapy is usually fairly easy to handle. “The quest always has been to get as many drugs into an inhalational drug as possible so that the number of treatments or inhalations per day is minimized.”
For his part, Dir. Maniatis said the advent of a three-drug asthma inhaler has been a long-sought goal.
“For years, studies have been trying to find the right proportion of these three airway treatments,” he explained. “There is a maximum dose of each of these drugs beyond which it does not pay to give more.”
However, a pulmonary specialist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, Dr Len Horovitz after reviewing the new findings, stressed that some patients might not be able to “tolerate” all three drugs.
Nevertheless, Dir. Maniatis continued that the encouraging results of the trials could be good news for patients.
“The simpler a medication regimen is, more likely someone is to follow it, and hence the logic behind trying to put these three therapies in one inhalational device,” he said.