Antibiotic treatment targets difficult asthma

December 17, 2007

Hunter researchers have shown that a commonly available antibiotic can improve the quality of life of patients with difficult asthma, and may also generate significant health care savings.

Results of a study published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, a top international journal, indicate that macrolide antibiotics could prove a successful therapy in conjunction with current asthma treatment.

The study was conducted by researchers from the University of Newcastle and Hunter New England Health in collaboration with the Hunter Medical Research Institute (HMRI) Viruses, Infections/Immunity,Vaccines and Asthma (VIVA) Research Program.

Current asthma medication is focused on treating a particular cell, called an eosinophil. Increased levels of eosinophils are thought to be responsible for inflammation of the airways. However, almost half of people with asthma symptoms have normal levels of eosinophils.

“In a previous study we have shown that an inflammatory cell called the neutrophil is increased in some asthma patients and that treatments are needed to combat other types of inflammation in people with asthma,” said Dr Jodie Simpson from the University of Newcastle’s Priority Research Centre for Asthma and Respiratory Diseases. Researchers studied 45 people who had poor asthma control and were taking high daily maintenance doses of inhaled corticosteroids. In addition to their regular asthma therapy, participants received a macrolide antibiotic (called klacid) or placebo medication for eight weeks.

“In this study we have shown that treatment with a macrolide antibiotic for eight weeks significantly reduced inflammation in the airways and improved quality of life in patients with difficult asthma,” said Dr Simpson.

“Patients with non-eosinophilic asthma particularly benefited from this treatment and this group of patients had the biggest response to the treatment. This treatment significantly reduced the number of neutrophils in the airway.

Source: Research Australia

Explore further: The microbial superhero in your vagina

Related Stories

The microbial superhero in your vagina

October 11, 2016

The aisle is marked with a little red sign that says "Feminine Treatments". Squeezed between the urinary incontinence pads and treatments for yeast infections, there is a wall of bottles and packages in every pastel shade ...

Indoor allergies can flare during the dog days of summer

July 27, 2016

During the dog days of the summer, many people might find themselves staying indoors more often to avoid the heat and humidity, but a Baylor College of Medicine expert warns that there may be something to be cautious of when ...

Gut pathogens thrive on body's tissue-repair mechanism

September 16, 2016

Why do some foodborne bacteria make us sick? A paper published Sept. 16 in the journal Science has found that pathogens in the intestinal tract cause harm because they benefit from immune system responses designed to repair ...

Recommended for you


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.