Antifungal pills could help treat asthma: study

LONDON (Reuters) - Pills used to treat common skin infections caused by fungi also appear to help some people with severe asthma, according to a British study published on Monday.

Volunteers with an allergic reaction to one or more fungi showed significant improvements in their asthma after taking antifungal itraconazole pills, David Denning at University Hospital of South Manchester and colleagues reported.

Airborne fungi can worsen asthma but the study published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine is the first to show that antifungal therapy can actually improve severe asthma symptoms, the researchers said.

“Severe asthma affects between five and 10 percent of adult asthmatics and probably 25 to 50 percent of these patients showed allergy to one or more fungi,” Denning said in a statement.

Asthma is an inflammatory disease causing wheezing, coughing and labored breathing that can be life threatening. It affects an estimated 300 million people worldwide.

Itraconazole, marketed as Sporanox by Johnson & Johnson unit Janssen Pharmaceutical, is a broad-spectrum antifungal drug that is also available generically.

Asthma treatments include GlaxoSmithKline’s Advair which combines two ingredients to ease the condition — a steroid to fight inflammation and a so-called beta agonist to open airways by relaxing muscles that tighten during an asthma attack.

Denning and colleagues compared itraconazole with a placebo among 58 men and women with severe asthma at four hospitals in Northwest England.

Nearly 60 percent of the volunteers showed significant improvement in their asthma symptoms during the eight months they took the antifungal drug.

Their asthma — marked by runny noses, sneezing and hay fever-like symptoms — worsened within four months after people stopped taking the pills, the researchers added. All those in the study had tested positive for a fungal allergy.

“This pioneering study indicates that fungal allergy is important in some patients with severe asthma, and that oral antifungal therapy is worth trying in some difficult-to-treat patients,” Robert Niven of the University of Manchester, who worked on the study, said in a statement.

(Reporting by Michael Kahn; Editing by Maggie Fox and Jon Boyle)


Related Posts:

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - People with severe asthma who are allergic to fungal organisms benefit substantially from treatment with the anti-fungal drug itraconazole, new research shows. To check out this strategy, a trial was conducted in the UK involving patients who needed high doses of steroids to control their asthma and who were sensitive to

Full Post: Antifungal treatment helps some asthma patients

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - About 3 million U.S. children have a food or digestive allergy — an 18 percent increase over the past 10 years, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported on Wednesday. Eight types of food account for 90 percent of these food allergies: milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, soy and

Full Post: More children have allergies, CDC reports

By Megan Rauscher NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - In children with both asthma and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), treating the latter can improve the former, according to research presented Sunday at the annual meeting of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology in Seattle. GERD is a common disease in which fluid from the stomach backs

Full Post: Treating reflux helps kids with asthma

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Contrary to widespread recommendations, the consumption of peanuts in infancy is associated with a low prevalence of peanut allergy, the results of a new study suggest. “Our study findings raise the question of whether early introduction rather than avoidance of peanut in infancy is the better strategy for the prevention of

Full Post: Early exposure to peanuts may prevent allergy

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A usually harmless childhood virus may hide in the lungs and come back to cause wheezing and other symptoms of asthma, U.S. researchers reported on Tuesday. They found evidence that respiratory syncytial virus or RSV stayed in the lungs of mice and caused the overactive airway symptoms that characterize asthma. “This research suggests that

Full Post: “Harmless” virus may hide and cause asthma

Site Navigation

Most Read