New Asthma Treatments 2021



Article last updated on 8/10/2021


What is Asthma?

Bronchial asthma (also known as asthma) is a pulmonary disease, in which the airways narrow, swell and produce more mucus than necessary. Bronchial asthma usually starts as shortness of breath and coughing, often in the night or morning.

This coughing or shortness of breath usually comes about when exposed to:

  • allergens
  • physical exercise
  • cold air
  • smoke or dust
  • if you have an upper respiratory infection.

What are Asthma symptoms?

The general symptoms of bronchial asthma include1:

  • shortness of breath
  • chest tightness or pain
  • coughing, wheezing or shortness of breath that interferes with sleeping
  • wheezing or a whistling sound when breathing (particularly in children).

The signs and symptoms of asthma may be during an asthma attack or they may be persistent (present all the time).

Certain activities and environments can also make asthma symptoms flare up, such as physical exercise, the workplace (coming into contact with dust, fumes, chemicals) or allergens (such as pollen, pets, mold or certain plants).


Is there a cure for Asthma?

No, currently there is no cure for asthma. Bronchial asthma can’t be cured, but treatments aim to reduce the symptoms so that it doesn’t interfere with your quality of life. This means less of an impact on the development of children, reduced number of asthma attacks, normal daily activities at work and at home, and the best possible breathing function. Studies are being done to find out how to cure asthma.


Treatment for Asthma

Medicines used to treat bronchial asthma can be divided into two groups: those that aim to relieve the symptoms of bronchial asthma quickly and immediately (relievers) and those that are used as a long-term, preventative treatment to stop the onset of symptoms before they happen (controllers). Allergy medicines are needed in some patients. Together with your treating doctor you will decide what is the best asthma medication for you.

These medicines work to reduce the amount of inflammation or narrowing in the airways, open up the airways to allow you to breathe better, and stop overproduction of mucous.


Medicines currently available for asthma include long-term ‘controllers’ and short-term ‘medications’.

Long-term ‘controllers’:

  • Corticosteroid inhalers: fluticasone, budesonide, flunisolide, ciclesonide, beclomethasone, mometasone, fluticasone furoate
  • Leukotriene modifiers: oral medications including montelukast, zafirlukast and zileuton
  • Long-acting beta agonists (inhaled): salmeterol and formoterol
  • Combination inhalers (long-acting beta agonist along with a corticosteroid): fluticasone-salmeterol, budesonide-formoterol and formoterol-mometasone
  • Theophylline (bronchodilator)

Immediate acting ‘quick relief’ medicines:

  • Short-acting beta agonists: albuterol and levalbuterol
  • Anticholinergic agents: ipratropium
  • Oral and intravenous corticosteroids: prednisone and methylprednisolone

Some of these drugs are over the counter (OTC) asthma medications that are widely available.


Asthma medication side effects

Every medication has the potential to cause side effects. If you experience side effects, discuss them with your treating doctor. Do not stop or reduce the dose without speaking with your doctor, because sudden stop of medication could cause an asthma attack that is worse than any potential side effect.

The most common side effects of inhaled corticosteroids include hoarse voice, sore mouth and throat, and fungal infections of the throat. The risk of these side effects can be reduced by rinsing the mouth with water after using the preventer.

The most common side effects of quick-relief medications include tremor, rapid heartbeat and headache. These effects usually go away quickly.


What benefit are corticosteroids in the treatment of asthma?

Inhaled corticosteroids can reduce inflammation and mucus in the airways, making it easier for you to breathe.


What are new Asthma treatments?

There are several approved new asthma drugs. Here are some of them:

Trelegy Ellipta (fluticasone furoate/umeclidinium/vilanterol)

Trelegy Ellipta (fluticasone furoate/umeclidinium/vilanterol) is a combination medication used for the long-term, once-daily, maintenance treatment of:

  • Asthma in patients aged 18 years and older
  • Patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Trelegy Ellipta is a combination therapy that consists of 3 active ingredients:

  • The inhaled corticosteroid Fluticasone furoate, which reduces inflammation
  • The anticholinergic agent Umeclidium, which works as a bronchodilator.
  • The long-acting beta2-adrenergic agonist Vilanterol, which works as a bronchodilator.

Trelegy Ellipta (fluticasone furoate/umeclidinium/vilanterol) was approved for the treatment of asthma in adults by:

  • The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), USA on September 10, 2020.

Dupixent (dupilumab)

Dupixent (dupilumab) is a medicine given by self-injection under the skin used to treat:

  • Patients aged 12 year and older with moderate-to-severe asthma with an eosinophilic phenotype, or with OCS‑dependent asthma regardless of phenotype. It is indicated as add-on maintenance treatment.
  • Patients aged 6 year and older with moderate-to-severe atopic dermatitis (eczema)
  • Adult patients with chronic rhinosinusitis (long-term sinus inflammation) with nasal polyposis (CRSwNP).

Dupixent (dupilumab) was approved for the treatment of people with asthma by:

  • The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), USA on October 19, 2018
  • The European Medicines Agency (EMA) on May 7, 2019

Ketas (ibudilast)

Ketas (ibudilast) is a treatment for bronchial asthma,

Ketas (ibudilast) was approved for the treatment of patients with bronchial asthma and cerebrovascular disorders by:

  • The Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices Agency (PMDA), Japan, May 1989.

Ibudilast was granted orphan drug designation for the treatment of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) by the European Medical Agency (EMA), on December 12, 2016 and by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), USA on June 10, 2016.


If you are trying to access new asthma medications that are approved outside of your country of residence, we might be able to help you access it with the help of your treating doctor. You can read more about the medicines we can help you access and their price below:



Why access and buy treatments for Asthma with TheSocialMedwork?

TheSocialMedwork is registered in The Hague with the Dutch Ministry of Health as an independent medicines intermediary (registration number 6730 BEM) and as an international pharmacy (registration number 16258 G). We have helped patients from over 85 countries to access thousands of medicines that are not yet approved in their home country, including patients suffering from Psoriatic Arthritis. With a prescription from your treating doctor, you can count on our expert team to safely and legally guide you to access Psoriatic Arthritis medicines in your country. If you or someone you know are looking to access a medicine that is not yet approved where you live, we will support you. Contact us for more information.


References:

  1. Asthma. Mayo Clinic
  2. Betterhealth.vic.gov.au
  3. Bronchial Asthma: Diagnosis and Long-Term Treatment in Adults, Ukemia D. et al.
  4. Trelegy Ellipta (fluticasone furoate/umeclidinium/vilanterol)
  5. FDA Trelegy Ellipta
  6. Dupixent (dupilumab)
  7. FDA Dupixent
  8. Ketas (ibudilast)
  9. FDA Ketas

Disclaimer: This article is not meant to influence or impact the care provided by your treating physician. Please do not make changes to your treatment without first consulting your healthcare provider. This article is not intended to diagnose or treat illness or to influence treatment options. TheSocialMedwork is as diligent as possible in compiling and updating the information on this page. However, TheSocialMedwork does not guarantee the correctness and completeness of the information provided on this page.