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New triple inhaler offers hope for lung disease sufferers

Washington: A combined triple inhaler can cut flare-ups in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) by 20 percent, according to the results of a trial.

The University of Manchester study contains the results of a year-long trial involving 2,691 patients. More than a thousand of these were given a new inhaler to manage their condition, which contains three different compounds, while another thousand were given the most common globally used inhaler. A further 500 were given the triple combination but in two inhalers.

COPD is term used to describe a number of progressive lung diseases such as emphysema. The main cause is smoking, although the condition can sometimes affect people who have never smoked. All participants in the trial were current or former smokers.

Researcher Jørgen Vestbo said: “This is the first long-term study to look at the possibilities of triple therapy as a preventative measure for COPD exacerbations.”

“COPD exacerbations lead to approximately 150,000 hospital admissions and 1.2 million bed-days every year in the UK, so to reduce this figure by 20% would make a huge difference, not only for patients’ quality of life, but also for the resources of the NHS,” Vestbo added.

As well as reduced exacerbations, the trial also found that the new inhaler helped to improve lung function more generally and resulted in fewer overall symptoms. The trial is also the first study to prospectively study a biomarker for individualising treatment better.

Using a count of blood eosinophil (a type of immune cell), it was possible to identify patients more likely to have even greater benefit from the triple inhaler containing an inhaled steroid.

The study is published in the Lancet. (ANI)