Asthma: Treatment Without the Steroid Side Effects?
Long-term oral steroid use is frequently required by 30-40% of severe asthmatic patients. Chronic steroid use can have significant side effects such as elevated blood sugar, increased blood pressure, difficulty sleeping, and weight gain.
In June 2015, a FDA panel unanimously supported the addition of a non-steroidal treatment for patients with severe asthma. Mepolizumab (GSK) is an injected medication that can inhibit infection-fighting cells from accumulating on the surface of the lungs in an asthmatic event, resulting in swelling and restriction of the airways.
An efficacy study looked at the steroid-sparing effects of the drug on patients who required extended use of prednisone for management of their symptoms. The study reported a significant proportion of subjects were less symptomatic and steroid free during the treatment period on the drug, as compared to the placebo group. Future use of mepolizumab is slated to be an alternative or complimentary treatment with goals to decrease dosages of oral steroids needed to manage patients’ symptoms.
For further information regarding this study, click here.