Scientists are always looking for new ways to treat asthma. It is a condition that affects millions of people every year – and many of those who suffer the worst are children. But some forms of the disease are worse than others and that can make them even more difficult to treat. That’s why there has been a lot of excitement about a new discovery made by researchers from the University of Newcastle and Hunter New England Health.
A study from the research team has shown that a common antibiotic can improve the quality of life of patients with difficult asthma. And not only that, it seems that using this antibiotic could generate huge healthcare savings. There is excellent potential for the macrolide antibiotics to be used as therapy in conjunction with conventional asthma treatments.
The current standard asthma medication is focused on treating a particular cell, known as an eosinophil. High levels of eosinophils are linked to the inflammation of airways in the lungs. However, recent studies have suggested that eosinophil levels are normal in around half of all asthmatics. This suggests something else can cause the problem.
It’s only a recent development in that we have learned that other cells can cause inflammation of the airways, and more effective treatments can now be found for them. The antibiotic appears to be an effective solution that can work with current asthma treatments to combat difficult forms of the condition.
Researchers looked at 45 people who had poor asthma control and were taking high daily maintenance doses of inhaled corticosteroids. Whilst also taking their regular asthma therapy, participants received the macrolide antibiotic or placebo medication for eight weeks.
The results showed that taking the antibiotic had a significant increase in the results of the asthma treatment.