14 September 2010

Asthma Drug Albuterol May Benefit Multiple Sclerosis Patients

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Multiple sclerosis patients who have albuterol, a medication used to treat asthma and some respiratory diseases, added to their treatment appear to benefit with improved clinical outcomes, say researchers in an article published in Archives of Neurology.
Multiple sclerosis is a long-term (chronic) inflammatory disease in which the myelin - the coating of nerve cells in the white matter of the CNS (central nervous system) - degenerates. Multiple sclerosis patients have high levels of inteleukin-12, a compound that encourages the generation of a type of helper T cell linked to myelin degeneration.

Alubterol sulfate, which is commonly used for the treatment of constricted airways within the lungs (bronchospasm), might lower levels of interleukin-12, the authors explain.

Samia J. Khoury, M.D., Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, and team examined the effects of albuterol treatment when added to glatiramer acetate for patients with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis.

The trial involved 44 patients with multiple sclerosis. They were randomly selected into two groups:
  • Albuterol group - they received daily subcutaneous 20-milligram injections of glatiramer acetate plus an oral dose of 4 milligrams of albuterol daily, for two years (subcutaneous means under the skin)
  • Placebo group - they received daily subcutaneous 20-milligram injections of glatiramer acetate plus an oral dose of 4 milligrams of a placebo daily, for two years

They were all examined by a neurologist at the start of the study, and then again at 6, 12, 18 and 24 months - blood samples were taken at the beginning, and then again at 3, 6, and 12 months. MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scans of the brain were done at the beginning, then at 12 and 24 months.

(Medical News Today)

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