WhatsNew2Day
Latest News And Breaking Headlines

Hope for the first new cough treatment in 50 years as a scientist inventing pill that reduces symptoms

Hope for the first new cough treatment in 50 years as a scientist inventing pill that reduces symptoms by two thirds

  • Doctors from the University of Manchester tried the new drug with enthusiasm
  • Help for people with chronic cough – people who have had it for more than eight weeks
  • Twice daily pill reduced cough frequency by 67% in two separate studies

The hope for the first new cough treatment in 50 years was raised yesterday after scientists had shown that they could reduce the symptoms with a twice daily pill.

Doctors from the University of Manchester showed that a new drug called Fapixant could reduce coughing by two-thirds.

Treatment has been shown in two studies to significantly help people with chronic cough – people who cough for more than eight weeks.

There is currently no way to treat these patients, some of whom have persistent coughs for years.

Over time, researchers hope that the drug will also become available to the millions of people who suffer from a normal cough.

Study director Professor Jacky Smith, who treats patients at Wythenshawe Hospital in Manchester, said: “This drug offers interesting prospects for patients suffering from the often painful condition of chronic cough.

The hope for the first new cough treatment in 50 years was raised yesterday after scientists demonstrated that they could reduce cough by two-thirds with a new drug called Fapixant

The hope for the first new cough treatment in 50 years was raised yesterday after scientists demonstrated that they could reduce cough by two-thirds with a new drug called Fapixant

“Effective cough treatments are an important unmet clinical need and no new therapies approved in more than 50 years.

“Billions of pounds are spent annually on freely available cough and cold medication, despite a lack of evidence to support their efficacy, concerns about the potential for abuse and the risk of damage in the event of an overdose.”

A study with 253 patients, published in the respected journal Lancet Respiratory Medicine, showed that a 50 mg dose of the drug reduced the cough frequency by 67 percent before patients started taking the pills.

HOW DOES FAPIXANT WORK?

The drug, taken in pill form, works by blocking the throat nerve that causes the cough reflex.

Most people with unexplained cough are thought to have a hypersensitive cough nerve, which means that they hack and cough with the least irritation.

At present, the only treatments are cough syrups, which reduce discomfort in the throat, or powerful painkillers such as codeine, which have serious side effects.

A study with 253 patients, published in the respected journal Lancet Respiratory Medicine, showed that a 50 mg dose of the drug reduced the cough frequency by 67 percent before patients started taking the pills.

The researchers were surprised to see that those who took a dummy “placebo” pill also saw their cough incidence decrease by 30 percent – meaning the drug was only 37 percent better than placebo.

A smaller study with 57 patients, published this week in the European Respiratory Journal, showed that only 30 mg of the drug could be effective – much lower than previously thought.

The researchers were surprised to see that those who took a dummy “placebo” pill also saw their cough incidence decrease by 30 percent – meaning the drug was only 37 percent better than placebo.

But they said the findings still had a significant effect – and hope that two much larger studies, with a total of more than 1,800 participants, will confirm the power of treatment.

The examinations, the first results of which should be by the end of the year, are needed before the drug can obtain a medical permit.

A smaller study with 57 patients, published this week in the European Respiratory Journal, showed that only 30 mg of the drug could be effective – much lower than previously thought.

The new drug works by blocking the throat nerve that causes the cough reflex.

Most people with unexplained cough are thought to have a hypersensitive cough nerve, which means that they hack and cough with the least irritation.

If the trial proves successful in this group of patients that are difficult to treat, doctors hope to go to a wider group of people.

They must ensure that the mechanism of the drug works for different types of cough, but in the long term they hope to make the drug available to people suffering from the common cough, which is usually caused by a cold virus.

The treatment promises to be a solution for the 10 percent of the British population who suffer from chronic cough.

But if it is also made available for short-term cough, it will benefit millions more.

At present, the only treatments are cough syrups, which reduce discomfort in the throat, or powerful painkillers such as codeine, which have serious side effects.

The latest treatment for cough – dextromethorphan, used in products such as Benylin – was made for 50 years and only reduces the cough frequency by 12 percent.

The trial was funded by the NHS research arm and drug manufacturer Afferent Pharmaceuticals – which is owned by pharmaceutical giant Merck.

Professor Smith said: “We cannot yet say when and whether this drug will be available on prescription, but if the Phase Three study is successful, it would certainly be an important step toward daily use.

“Although it is fair to say that the drug is not a cure for chronic cough, it can often and often reduce the cough rate considerably.

“That can make a big difference for patients who often struggle with this condition that can have such a big impact on their lives.”

.