Asthma Medication May Provide Benefits As MS Treatment

Researchers suggests that a compound commonly used to treat asthma and other respiratory diseases may help improve clinical outcomes if added into existing multiple sclerosis treatments in patients. Albuterol sulfate, a compound that is commonly used to treat asthma may also be beneficial for those who suffer from MS and use it as part of their treatment. The said report can be found in the September issue of the Archives of Neurology, one of the JAMA and Archives journals.

Researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston assessed the effect of albuterol sulfate as an add-on therapy for patients who were starting treatment using glatiramer acetate, considered as the approved treatment for relapsing-remitting MS. A total of 44 patients were randomly assigned to receive daily injections of glatiramer acetate along with either an oral dose of albuterol or a placebo daily for a period of two years.

The participants were then examined by a neurologist periodically from the beginning of the study and during the 6th, 12th, 18th and 24th months. Blood samples were also taken and collected from the 3rd, 6th and 12th month into the study. In addition, MRI scans of the brain were also taken from the beginning, the 12th and the 24th month into the study.

A total of 39 patients were able to participate long enough for the evaluation. Assessments of the patients showed that there were improvements in terms of functional status in the group that took the glatiramer acetate plus albuterol treatment compared to the glatiramer acetate and placebo group at the 6th and the 12th month of the study, but not at the 24th month. The group who were taking albuterol also experienced a delay in the time of their first MS relapse as compared to the placebo group.

The authors of the said study report, “We conclude that treatment with glatiramer acetate plus albuterol is well tolerated and improves clinical outcomes in patients with multiple sclerosis. The combined regimen seems to enhance clinical response during the first year of therapy.”

Source: JAMA and Archives Journals. “Asthma Medication May Benefit Patients With Multiple Sclerosis.” ScienceDaily 13 September 2010. 14 September 2010 <http://www.sciencedaily.comĀ­ /releases/2010/09/100913162333.htm>

 
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