Drug Helps Treatment of Resistant Asthma

LOS ANGELES, Sept. 19 (UPI) — A drug for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease may be useful for asthma too, U.S. researchers said Sunday.

Some doctors already are prescribing Spiriva for adult asthmatics who have not found enough relief from other drugs, but a major clinical trial now supports it, experts told the Los Angeles Times.

Spiriva is expected to provide an alternative to long-acting beta-agonists like Serevent, Advair and Symbicort, which in a few cases can aggravate asthma symptoms, leading to hospitalization and even death.

The study, by a team headed by Dr. Stephen Peters of Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center, was published online in the New England Journal of Medicine and reported Sunday at a meeting in Barcelona, Spain, of the European Respiratory Society.

A particular strength of Spiriva, generic name tiotropium bromide, is that it can last for 24 hours or more, providing long-lasting relief, said Dr. Michael D. Roth, a professor of pulmonary medicine at UCLA who was not involved in the research.

Tiotropium was shown to be more effective by a number of measures, including the number of days patients had no symptoms and did not need to use albuterol rescue inhalers.

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