New Treatments for COPD You May Not Have Heard Of
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a serious condition that causes difficulties breathing and is progressive. The symptoms of this condition include chronic coughing, wheezing, thick mucus discharge, and other symptoms that decrease an individual’s quality of life.
Olodaterol Gains FDA Approval
While some treatment methods are available to treat COPD, a new COPD drug has hit the market after receiving FDA approval, and works in a unique manner — through inhalation. The new drug was approved as a result of substantial and concrete evidence regarding the drug’s effectiveness. Patients treated with the new drug during the research trials showed improved lung function, which is critical to treating COPD.
The drug, called Olodaterol, is classified as a long-acting beta-adrenergic, which works by helping the muscles located around the airway to stay relaxed. There were over 3,000 patients involved in the study, and those who were treated with Olodaterol, compared to the placebo, showed great improvements.
While the drug has been shown to be an effective treatment method for those with COPD, some patients reported certain side-effects including runny nose, bronchitis, cough, upper respiratory tract infection, diarrhea, dizziness, back pain and joint pain.
The effectiveness of this new drug creates excitement among many COPD sufferers, but the FDA warns that a precaution must be used in some situations. Patients with acutely deteriorating COPD and people with asthma should not use the drug, as the risk of narrowing and obstruction of the respiratory airway is present. Currently, Oldaterol is undergoing trial as part of a combined treatment, along with Tiotropium. Researchers are confident that the phase three trial will offer promising results.
A Look at Roflumilast
Roflumilast is a relatively new drug used to treat moderate to severe COPD. It has been used in Canada and Europe under the trade name Daxas since 2009. The US Food and Drug Administration approved its use in 2011 under the trade name Daliresp.
Drugs for COPD such as bronchodilators and corticosteroids are used to ease symptoms, however they do not stop the progression of COPD. Roflumilast is a new type of medication that works on the inflammatory response of the body. It is not a bronchodilator, so it isn’t effective for acute respiratory distress.
The use of roflumilast may increase time between exacerbations. Studies indicate that flare-ups decrease by 17 percent annually in people using the drug. The decrease occurs regardless of whether or not bronchodilators are used simultaneously.
Why Is It Important to Reduce Flare-Ups?
Reducing the frequency of exacerbations is important for several reasons:
- If you have an exacerbation, you are more likely to contract an infection or develop complications of your illness, including pneumonia.
- Flare-ups are physically, financially, and emotionally draining.
- You may experience anxiety or insomnia, which can result in fatigue.
- You may not be able to maintain a healthy diet during flare-ups, which may result in undesirable weight loss or malnutrition.
- Fewer flare-ups results in a lower likelihood of hospitalization.
- Every exacerbation causes more damage to your lungs.
- Your life expectancy decreases with each flare-up.
- The quality of life for you and your entire family decreases if you have frequent exacerbations of your disease.
- With less shortness of breath you may need less medication, which reduces your chances of experiencing undesirable side effects including fluid retention.