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 December 22, 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 December 22, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Monday, December 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Touch-Free Smart Phone Empowers Mobility-Impaired

Touch-Free Smart Phone Empowers Mobility-Impaired

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 21, 2014) A touch-free phone developed in Israel enables the mobility-impaired to operate smart phones with just a movement of the head. Suzannah Butcher reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Earthworms Provide Cancer-Fighting Bacteria

Earthworms Provide Cancer-Fighting Bacteria

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 21, 2014) Polish scientists isolate bacteria from earthworm intestines which they say may be used in antibiotics and cancer treatments. Suzannah Butcher reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Existing Chemical Compounds Could Revive Failing Antibiotics, Says Danish Scientist

Existing Chemical Compounds Could Revive Failing Antibiotics, Says Danish Scientist

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 21, 2014) A team of scientists led by Danish chemist Jorn Christensen says they have isolated two chemical compounds within an existing antipsychotic medication that could be used to help a range of failing antibiotics work against killer bacterial infections, such as Tuberculosis. Jim Drury went to meet him. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Hugging It Out Could Help You Ward Off A Cold

Hugging It Out Could Help You Ward Off A Cold

Newsy (Dec. 21, 2014) Carnegie Mellon researchers found frequent hugs can help people avoid stress-related illnesses. Video provided by Newsy
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