Asthma Study: Rest Your Inhalers, Boys and Girls; Drug Treatment May Relieve What Ails You

Filed under: Medical Conditions, In The News, Research Reveals: Big Kids

asthma treatment picture

Next fall, kids with asthma may be able to put down their inhalers and pick up a new asthma treatment. Credit: Getty Images


Kids with asthma may have to spend less quality time with their inhalers next fall if Omalizumab delivers.

That's not an alien overlord from a new video game. Omalizumab is a powerful asthma medication for teenagers and adults who don't respond to other treatments. Although normally reserved for severe cases, the drug now shows promise among young children with only moderate symptoms.

MSNBC reports researchers found the drug decreased the number of days inner-city kids experienced asthma attacks and reduced the need for other meds.

The study "raises the possibility that (the drug) could be used for short periods of time just before and during the fall asthma epidemic season," study researcher Suzanne Steinbach, an associate professor of pediatrics at Boston University School of Medicine, tells MSNBC.

During the fall season, the amount of pollen and mold in the air changes. Temperatures dip. And every chapter of the International Association of Yucky Germs wants to hold its convention in your respiratory system.

Study researcher Dr. William Busse, an allergy and immunology researcher at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, tells MSNBC researchers will conduct another study next year to see if Omalizumab lessens asthma symptoms when given once a month.

Participants in the first study had allergic asthma. This is the most common form of asthma, afflicting more than half of the 20 million Americans with the condition. It's triggered by dust, pollen and other allergens. Sufferers cough, wheeze and have trouble breathing as their airways become inflamed.

MSNBC reports inner-city kids live an environment rife with asthma triggers. And those suckers have legs. Aside from the usual dust and pollen, you got your dust mites, cockroaches and rodents.

Researchers looked at 419 children and teens from eight cities with moderate to severe allergic asthma. Participants were injected with Omalizumab or a placebo every two to four weeks for 60 weeks.

MSNBC reports those who took the drug saw a 25 percent reduction in the number of days they experienced symptoms compared to those who took the placebo. They also had 30 percent fewer asthma attacks and experienced a 75 percent reduction in hospitalizations, Steinbach tells the network.

Wanda Phipatanakul, an allergy and immunology researcher at Children's Hospital Boston who was not involved in the study, tells MSNBC the findings are good news.

"Anything that can help such a chronic debilitating disease, particularly as we know is a big problem in inner-city children, is exciting," Phipatanakul tells the network.

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.