Sign up for Englemed updates from TwitterSign up for Englemed updates from Facebook
Contact Englemed
Our contact email address.
We can provide a specialist, tailored health and medical news service for your site.
Click here for more information
RSS graphic XML Graphic Add to Google
About Englemed news services - services and policies.
Englemed News Blog - Ten years and counting.
Diary of a reluctant allergy sufferer - How the British National Health Service deals with allergy.
BookshopFor books on women's health, healthy eating ideas, mental health issues, diabetes, etc click here

WWW Englemed
Copyright Notice. All reports, text and layout copyright Englemed Ltd, 52 Perry Avenue, Birmingham UK B42 2NE. Co Registered in England No 7053778 Some photos copyright Englemed Ltd, others may be used with permission of copyright owners.
Disclaimer: Englemed is a news service and does not provide health advice. Advice should be taken from a medical professional or appropriate health professional about any course of treatment or therapy.
Heart failure linked to heavy energy drink consumption
Fri April 16th - Drinking excessive energy drinks could be linked to a young man’s heart failure, according to doctors who treated a 21-year-old who consumed four cans a day for two years. More
Shift workers' heart health linked to body clock
Fri April 16th - The risk of heart disease becomes greater the more an individual works outside of their natural body clock, new research suggests. More
Infection much greater risk than vaccines for thrombotic events
Fri April 16th - Cerebral venous thrombosis has been a significant complication of COVID-19 at a rate far higher than seen after vaccination, British researchers have reported. More
On 09/10/2020 William Haworth wrote:
How long is recovery time after proceedure... on Ablation cuts atrial fibrillat...
On 08/02/2018 David Kelly wrote:
Would you like to write a piece about this to be i... on Researchers unveil new pain re...
On 23/10/2017 Cristina Pereira wrote: on HIV breakthrough - MRC...
On 12/09/2017 Aparna srikantam wrote:
Brilliant finding! indeed a break through in under... on Leprosy research breakthrough...
On 01/07/2017 Annetta wrote:
I have been diagnosed with COPD for over 12 years.... on Seaweed plan for antimicrobial...
Clearing the air: An Assessment of Asthma and Indoor Allergens ABC of Asthma For more books click here
RSS graphic XML Graphic

Inhaler failings probed

Thursday January 14th, 2010

British researchers are probing why asthma relief inhalers sometimes may make asthma worse - and what can be done about it.

Photograph of a woman using an inhalerResearch led by Professor Peter Bradding, of Leicester University, is providing new insights into factors influencing effectiveness of certain asthma medicines.

His study is focusing on the preventer and reliever treatments for asthma.

Asthma is characterised by reversible narrowing of airways in the lungs, which makes breathing difficult. An estimated 300 million people suffer from this condition worldwide. There is, to date, no cure for asthma, although the condition can be well managed with proper treatment.

Professor Bradding said, "Asthma treatment can be broadly classified into preventer and reliever treatments. Preventers control swelling and inflammation of lung airways. Their protective effect is not immediate, but develops gradually with time. It is therefore, essential to take preventer medication regularly.

"Relievers on the other hand have an immediate effect. They help relieve asthma symptoms by relaxing airways, making breathing easier."

Professor Bradding added: "Despite their usefulness in rapidly relieving asthma, relievers may cause asthma to worsen when used too frequently.

"Moreover, they are not always as effective as predicted. We investigated mechanisms behind this by studying interactions between reliever medicines and the immune system.

"Our immune system uses antibodies (a type of protein found in blood and other body fluids) to identify foreign bacteria and viruses and neutralise their effects. Asthma is commonly associated with allergies, which are caused by antibodies called IgE which react with allergens such as house dust mite and grass. IgE binds to mast cells in lungs of asthma sufferers.

"This, in turn, causes mast cells to release chemicals such as histamine, which cause narrowing of lung airways and thus, lead to an asthma attack."

Mast cells need a chemical known as stem cell factor to survive and function and this chemical is present in asthmatic lungs. Professor Bradding's research shows that when lung mast cells are exposed to reliever drugs, in the presence of both IgE and stem cell factor, relievers lose their ability to prevent chemical release from mast cells. Interestingly, under these circumstances, relievers may actually cause mast cells to release more chemicals, causing asthma to worsen.

Professor Bradding says, "This research might explain why reliever drugs are not always as effective as predicted, why they might worsen and destabilise asthma. This research has important consequences for individuals with poorly controlled asthma and for those who rely too heavily on relievers, whilst not using their preventer medication regularly."

Professor Bradding adds, "If we can inhibit the function of stem cell factor in the lungs of asthmatic patients, reliever drugs such as salbutamol, might be more effective."

If future research reinforces these findings, then this work could lead to the development of new treatment strategies that could benefit thousands of people.

The research is funded by Asthma UK.

Dr Elaine Vickers, Research Relations Manager at Asthma UK says: "Millions of people around the world use reliever inhalers that contain medicines such as salbutamol and these devices play a crucial role in relieving asthma symptoms.

"Professor Bradding aims to understand why it is that people who use their reliever inhalers too often, without using a preventer inhaler, are putting themselves at risk of worse asthma symptoms.

"We hope that the results of Professor Bradding's work will lead to the development of drugs that overcome the problems associated with over-use of reliever inhalers but in the meantime we would urge anyone who needs to use their reliever inhaler three or more times a week to visit their doctor or asthma nurse to have their symptoms reviewed.

"We would also urge people with asthma to use their preventer inhalers as prescribed. This should not only control symptoms, but also guard against any harmful effects of frequent reliever use."

Tags: Allergies & Asthma | Child Health | Respiratory | UK News

Printer friendly page Printer friendly page