Study Develops Treatment that Betters Symptoms of Severe Asthma

Researchers from the Firestone Institute for Respiratory Health at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton and the McMaster University together with the colleagues at other partnering institutions have come up with a new method to treat severe asthma. In a study that comprises participation of over 200 people with severe asthma, the new treatment was shown to have bettered asthma symptoms and lung function, whilst diminishing the need for corticosteroids by up to 70%.

Current Medications Come with Serious Side Effects

In accordance to Statistics Canada, 8% of the Canadians aged around 12 years or older, approximately around 2.4 million people, have been diagnosed with asthma. Of that, approximately around 25% are considered to be of severe cases of asthma.

Current treatments for severe asthma often comprise high doses of corticosteroids, such as prednisone, to control exacerbations. Reducing the need for corticosteroids with various alternative treatments is preferable, since these medications are associated with serious side effects from prolonged use which comprises immunosuppression and multi-organ toxicities.

Dr. Parameswaran Nair, staff respirologist at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton and professor of medicine at McMaster University together with a team of researchers discovered that an antibody called dupilumab is effective in the treatment of severe asthma in place of high doses of prednisone.

Dr. Nair and his team shared the details of their study at the American Thoracic Society’s international conference in San Diego recently. There, researchers and clinicians from across the world came together to discuss respiratory illnesses and the latest breakthroughs in the treatment of severe asthma.

The findings were published in the New England Journal of Medicine, an influential medical publication.