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In patients with moderate-to-very-severe respiratory impairment, regular treatment to keep airways open with one or more long-acting bronchodilators (as Foradil or Serevent) or long-acting anticholinergic agent (as Spiriva or Pressair) is recommend- ed. A growing body of evidence shows that taking both type of drugs is more effective than either drug class alone in managing stable COPD to improve lung function, symptoms and health status.
The FDA has approved Glaxo Smith Kline’s (GSK) umeclidinium bromide/ vilanterol (trade name Anoro Ellipta) as a convenient dry powder combination anti- cholinergic/long-acting beta2-adrenergic agonist.
Last May, the FDA also approved GSK’s flutica- sone furoate/vilanterol dry powder combo inhaler for COPD sold as Breo Ellipta.
Researchers at the University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada, studied nearly 7,000 elderly patients with COPD for a period of three years. They found those taking inhaled corticosteroids (as Flovent, Pulmicort and Qvar) for their condition on discharge from hospitals were approximately 25 percent less likely to die from any cause than those who did not take them.
Researchers at the Veterans’ Administra- tion Medical Center in Atlanta, GA, found men with lung disease have a five-fold increased risk of osteoporosis, a condition where your bones become more fragile and more likely to fracture. Calcium and Vitamin D supplements are recommended to help with this increased risk.
On the horizon, London scientists have developed a new drug (RPL554) that could treat COPD and asthma in two ways at once, according to research published in The Lancet Respiratory Medicine. RPL554 has the potential to both reverse the narrowing of the airways and reduce inflammation quicker and with fewer side effects than current therapies. Further studies are planned.
The American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology reports 26 million Amer- icans have asthma, a number that is in- creasing every year. Asthma is responsible for 4,000 deaths and an economic cost of $20.7 billion annually. According to a study presented at a recent medical meeting, asthma visits can be reduced by 55 per- cent when inhalers contain a simple dose counter. Dose counters on rescue inhalers display the amount of medication remaining in the device, but they are not standard for all meter dose inhalers. Dose counters help patients know if they are getting enough medication and warn if the inhaler is near- ing empty, both of which can help reduce asthma attacks.