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08/28/2011

COPD? New antibiotic information....

Dealing with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease?

The University of Minnesota School of Public Health has new information that might be interesting to you.

"A clinical trial designed by researchers from the University of Minnesota School of Public Health has found that adding the common antibiotic azithromycin to the usual treatment regimen for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) can reduce the occurrence and severity of the condition’s characteristic exacerbations, or flare-ups," the university says in an announcement this week (August, 2011).

The hope is the drug will improve quality of life for people with COPD.

Long-term affects of taking the antibiotic remain unclear, along with which patients might benefit most from the therapy. 

A total of "570 study participants who took 250 mg of azithromycin daily for a year in addition to their usual care averaged 1.48 acute COPD exacerbations annually, compared to 1.83 exacerbations for the 572 participants who received their usual care without azithromycin," the university reported.

The research was a "prospective, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study" according to ClinicalTrials.gov.

Researchers present their results in the New England Journal of Medicine.

The drug doesn't cure COPD and doesn't eliminate flare-ups. Plus, there are risks, as there are with any treatment. 

The New England Journal article says, "among selected subjects with COPD, azithromycin taken daily for 1 year, when added to usual treatment, decreased the frequency of exacerbations and improved quality of life but caused hearing decrements in a small percentage of subjects."

Pulse on Health
By Jeff Hansel, member Association of Health Care Journalists
Health Reporter for the PostBulletin.com, 18 1st Ave. S.E. in Rochester, Minnesota 55904 
Twitter Hansel's Pulse: @Jeff Hansel

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The main cause of COPD is toxic particles or gas, usually from smoking, which triggers an abnormal inflammatory response in the lungs and is often referred to as chronic bronchitis.

Chronic obstructive lung disease (COPD) is a progressive disease that makes it difficult to breathe. The main cause of COPD is cigarette smoking.

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