Obesity May Decrease Effectiveness of Asthma Meds

A new study finds inhaled asthma medications, like Flovent and Symbicort, are only about half as effective when taken by obese patients.

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Asthma is a disease that causes the linings of a person’s bronchial tubes and lungs to become swollen, partially blocking their airway, and reducing their ability to breathe. Corticosteroid drugs, which include brand names like Flovent, Azmacort, Symbicort and Advair, can treat asthma by reducing inflammation and opening up the bronchial tubes.

But a new study published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology concludes that inhaled asthma medications are only about half as effective when taken by obese patients.

The researchers looked at body mass index and treatment data on 1,256 people with mild-to-moderate asthma. Analysis of a sub-group of 183 asthma patients showed that lean people with asthma who used inhaled corticosteroids had a 55% lower level of a certain type of airway inflammation than did obese people who used the same drug.

Too little is known about the relationship between obesity and inflammatory disease. But by studying the effect of anti-inflammatory drugs on asthma patients of all sizes, researchers may uncover important clues to provide more effective treatment.

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