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New inhaler cuts severe asthma attacks by a quarter

New dual-dose inhaler cuts the number of patients suffering from severe asthma attacks by a quarter

  • Eight million Britons suffer from asthma, an incurable lung condition.
  • Asthmatics suffer from shortness of breath with 60,000 needing hospital each year
  • A new dual-dose inhaler has produced promising results during recent trials

A new type of inhaler for people with asthma could radically reduce the risk of developing life-threatening breathing difficulties.

One trial found that the new inhaler, which combines two drugs currently taken separately to treat the lung condition, reduced the number of patients suffering from severe asthma attacks by a quarter.

Asthma affects eight million Britons, or 12 per cent of the population, and those who suffer from it can experience severe breathing difficulties when it causes their airways to become inflamed. Every year this leads to 60,000 hospital admissions and more than 1,000 deaths.

Asthma affects eight million Britons, or 12 per cent of the population, and those who suffer from it can experience severe breathing difficulties when it causes their airways to become inflamed.  Every year this leads to 60,000 hospital admissions and more than 1,000 deaths.

Asthma affects eight million Britons, or 12 per cent of the population, and those who suffer from it can experience severe breathing difficulties when it causes their airways to become inflamed. Every year this leads to 60,000 hospital admissions and more than 1,000 deaths.

There is no cure for the condition, but regular medication can help keep symptoms under control.

There is no cure for the condition, but regular medication can help keep symptoms under control.

There is no cure for the condition, but regular medication can help keep symptoms under control.

Asthmatics are treated with two inhalers, which fire a burst of medication directly into the airways to treat inflammation.

The first, usually brown, is used regularly to prevent the development of symptoms. The second, usually blue, is used to relieve symptoms during an asthma attack. While extremely effective when used correctly, many asthma patients do not use the brown “preventer” inhaler regularly.

Combining the two drugs into one is expected to make it easier for patients to treat themselves.

Professor Tim Harrison, an asthma expert at the University of Nottingham who was involved in the trial, said: “This could lead to a drastic reduction in the number of asthma attacks we see.” These can lead to hospital admissions and sometimes death.

The trial divided more than 3,000 patients into two groups.

One group was given the new inhaler, known as PT027, and the other continued to use their regular blue and brown inhalers.

At the end of the trial, patients using the PT027 inhaler had a 27 percent lower risk of having a severe asthma attack.

The PT027 inhaler is currently awaiting approval from US health chiefs, and Professor Harrison says he hopes it will be available to asthma sufferers on the NHS in due course.

Brian Johnson, 45, from Keyworth, Nottingham, took part in the trial because he had suffered from severe asthma since he was a child.

The married director of an engineering company said he noticed a marked improvement in his symptoms, adding, “I would gladly switch and use it full time.”

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