Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Anti-fungal Drug Offers Great Benefits To Some With Severe Asthma, Study Suggests

Date:
December 30, 2008
Source:
American Thoracic Society
Summary:
Some patients with severe asthma who also have allergic sensitivity to certain fungi enjoy great improvements in their quality of life and on other measures after taking an anti-fungal drug, according to new research.

Some patients with severe asthma who also have allergic sensitivity to certain fungi enjoy great improvements in their quality of life and on other measures after taking an antifungal drug, according to new research from The University of Manchester in England.

Related Articles


The findings were reported in the first issue for January of the American Thoracic Society's American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

"We knew that many people with severe asthma are sensitized to several airborne fungi which can worsen asthma without overt clinical signs. The question was: does antifungal therapy provide any clinical benefit," said David Denning, F.R.C.P., F.R.C.Path., professor of medicine and medical mycology at The University of Manchester and lead investigator of the study.

In 2006, the most recent year for which official statistics are available, there were more than 16 million adults with self-reported asthma in the U.S.; about 20 percent of them have severe asthma.

A small number of severe asthmatics—about one percent— are known to have a syndrome called allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis, an extreme allergy to Aspergillus fumigatus fungus that is associated with the long-term colonization of their respiratory tracts with the fungus. But many more — 20 to 50 percent— are sensitized to a variety of fungi without showing overt clinical signs or demonstrable colonization. It is these patients with severe asthma with fungal sensitization, or "SAFS", as the researchers named the syndrome, who are most likely to enjoy marked improvement with the antifungal therapy.

In the prospective double-blind study, 58 patients with severe asthma and allergic sensitivity to at least one of seven different common fungi (confirmed by a skin-prick test and/or an IgE blood test for the study) were randomized to receive either an oral dose of itraconazole (200mg twice a day) or a placebo.

After 32 weeks of treatment, 18 of the 29 patients (62 percent) who were randomized to receive the drug experienced significant improvements on their Asthma Quality of Life Questionnaires, and in runny nose and morning lung function. However, 11 of the patients who received the drug left the trial before completion, some citing side effects that included nausea, breathlessness and muscle weakness. Unfortunately, four months after stopping antifungal treatment, symptoms had returned.

"This study indicates that fungal allergy is important in some patients with severe asthma, and that oral antifungal therapy is worth trying in difficult-to-treat patients. Clearly itraconazole will not suit everyone and is not always helpful, but when it is the effect is dramatic," said Dr. Denning. "These findings open the door to a new means of helping patients with severe asthma, and raise intriguing questions related to fungal allergy and asthma."

John Heffner, M.D., past president of the ATS, reflected that the recent Severe Asthma Research Program report describes severe asthma as a entirely different form of the disease. "Patients with severe asthma may have unique triggers for bronchospasm, which remain unidentified. This study suggests that colonization with fungal species may generate immunologic responses in patients with asthma that perpetuate airway inflammation and blunt the effectiveness of drug therapy. One can't help but wonder if antifungal therapy would benefit all severe asthmatics regardless of sensitivity to fungi."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Thoracic Society. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

American Thoracic Society. "Anti-fungal Drug Offers Great Benefits To Some With Severe Asthma, Study Suggests." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 December 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/12/081229080853.htm>.
American Thoracic Society. (2008, December 30). Anti-fungal Drug Offers Great Benefits To Some With Severe Asthma, Study Suggests. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/12/081229080853.htm
American Thoracic Society. "Anti-fungal Drug Offers Great Benefits To Some With Severe Asthma, Study Suggests." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/12/081229080853.htm (accessed October 30, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Mind-Controlled Prosthetic Arm Restores Amputee Dexterity

Mind-Controlled Prosthetic Arm Restores Amputee Dexterity

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 29, 2014) A Swedish amputee who became the first person to ever receive a brain controlled prosthetic arm is able to manipulate and handle delicate objects with an unprecedented level of dexterity. The device is connected directly to his bone, nerves and muscles, giving him the ability to control it with his thoughts. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Google To Use Nanoparticles, Wearables To Detect Disease

Google To Use Nanoparticles, Wearables To Detect Disease

Newsy (Oct. 29, 2014) Google X wants to improve modern medicine with nanoparticles and a wearable device. It's all an attempt to tackle disease detection and prevention. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Can Drinking Milk Lead To Early Death?

Can Drinking Milk Lead To Early Death?

Newsy (Oct. 29, 2014) Researchers in Sweden released a study showing heavy milk drinkers face an increased mortality risk from a variety of causes. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Obama: The US Will Not 'run and Hide' From Ebola

Obama: The US Will Not 'run and Hide' From Ebola

AP (Oct. 29, 2014) Surrounded by health care workers in the White House East Room, President Barack Obama said the U.S. will likely see additional Ebola cases in the weeks ahead. But he said the nation can't seal itself off in the fight against the disease. (Oct. 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

    Technology News



    Save/Print:
    Share:

    Free Subscriptions


    Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

    Get Social & Mobile


    Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

    Have Feedback?


    Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
    Mobile: iPhone Android Web
    Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
    Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
    Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins