Revolutionising Asthma Treatment: The Role of Biological Agents and Advanced Diagnostic Tests

Revolutionising Asthma Treatment: The Role of Biological Agents and Advanced Diagnostic Tests

Asthma Treatment

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Asthma, a common lung condition affecting both children and adults, is characterised by narrowed and inflamed airways obstructed by excess mucus. In 2020–21, approximately 2.7 million Australians, making up 11% of the population, were reported to have asthma. [1]

However, the positive news is that these conditions are manageable with medication. Since the early 2000s, asthma assessment and management have revolutionised with the introduction of biological agents, particularly in severe cases.

What is Asthma?

Asthma can also be referred to as bronchial asthma, and it is chronic lung disease. This is as a result of inflammation and tightening of the muscles around the airways, hence making it really difficult for one to breathe appropriately. [2] Wheezing, coughing, breathlessness, and chest tightness may be the common symptoms in patients with asthma.

It can affect people of all ages and is typically managed through a combination of medication (relievers, in this case, and preventer-controller medicines) and adopting a healthy lifestyle.

Asthma has various triggers:

  • Allergic: Certain allergies can provoke an asthma attack. These allergens may include moulds, pollens, and pet dander.
  • Not an allergy: This may also result from outside occurrences that are not from an allergen, for example, exercise, stress, illness, or changes in weather.

Signs and Symptoms of Asthma

Wheezing is normally the most prevailing symptom in most cases of asthma, a whistling-like sound which emerges from the high pitch such as when one is breathing. [3] Most of the symptoms are very similar to those of various respiratory infections, for example:

  • Wheezing.
  • Chest tightness, pain, or pressure.
  • Shortness of breath. [4]
  • Coughing, particularly at night, during laughter, or when exercising. [5]

Additional symptoms associated with asthma may include:

  • Difficulty speaking.
  • Feelings of anxiety or panic.
  • Fatigue.
  • Rapid breathing.
  • Frequent respiratory infections.
  • Sleep disturbances.

The Revolution: Biological Therapy for Severe Asthma Treatment

Biological therapy for severe asthma marks a transformative breakthrough in treatment. Unlike traditional medications, biological therapies target specific pathways in asthma’s inflammatory process, offering more tailored and effective management.

These therapies have shown remarkable success in reducing asthma exacerbations, improving lung function, and enhancing overall quality of life for patients with severe asthma.

These may include:

Monoclonal Antibodies

Monoclonal antibodies, also called biologics or injectables, target specific pathways in severe asthma. They’re for cases uncontrolled by standard treatments like high-dose preventers or oral corticosteroids. [6]

Dupilumab, one such antibody, blocks inflammation pathways in severe eosinophilic and allergic asthma. Administered every two to eight weeks via injection, these therapies significantly reduce severe asthma attacks by up to 50%.

Licensed Biologics for Severe Asthma

Four licensed biologic medications are currently approved for use in selected severe asthmatic patients. [7]

Omalizumab:

  • Anti-IgE monoclonal antibody
  • Acts on allergic pathways
  • First licensed biologic for asthma

Mepolizumab:

  • Target interleukin-5 (IL-5) pathway
  • Act on interleukin-5 itself

Benralizumab:

  • Targets interleukin-5 (IL-5) pathway
  • Acts on its receptor

Dupilumab:

  • Inhibits IL-4R signalling induced by both IL-4 and IL-13

These biologic medications are officially approved for use in selected severe asthmatic patients, offering targeted treatment options for improved management.

Advancements in Diagnostic Testing

Pulmonary Function Testing (PFT)

Pulmonary function testing, available at Complete Health Australia, is an important tool in diagnosing and managing asthma. It assesses lung function by measuring airflow, lung volume, and gas exchange parameters. PFT helps clinicians evaluate the severity of asthma, monitor disease progression, and assess treatment response over time. [8]

Complete Health Australia: Leading the Way in Respiratory Medicine

Dr. Charith Horadagoda, a respected figure in respiratory medicine, holds specialised training from Westmead and Liverpool Hospitals. As a consultant respiratory physician, he leads Lung Health Centers, prioritising personalised care for asthma and chronic bronchitis.

He integrates advanced treatment options and diagnostic tests in asthma management, ensuring evidence-based practice. Patient success stories through the care at Complete Health Australia underscore the teams expertise and compassionate approach. Many have experienced significant improvements in asthma control and quality of life, reflecting a commitment to personalised care and effective treatment strategies.

The Bottom Line

Asthma treatment and diagnostic testing have seen significant advancements, offering patients more tailored and effective options. From innovative biological therapies to advanced diagnostic tests, more tools are available than ever to manage asthma effectively.

If you’re experiencing asthma symptoms, don’t hesitate to schedule a consultation with Dr. Horadagoda and the team at Complete Health Australia. By seeking personalised treatment plans, you can better manage and ease your asthma and improve your quality of life.

Take action today to breathe easier tomorrow!

Reference:

  1. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. “Chronic Respiratory Conditions.” Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2023, www.aihw.gov.au/reports/chronic-respiratory-conditions/chronic-respiratory-conditions/contents/about.
  2. Australian Bureau of Statistics. “Asthma, 2020-21 | Australian Bureau of Statistics.” Www.abs.gov.au, Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2022, www.abs.gov.au/statistics/health/health-conditions-and-risks/asthma/latest-release.
  3. Holland, Kimberly. “What Do You Want to Know about Asthma?” Healthline, Healthline Media, Oct. 2018, www.healthline.com/health/asthma#symptoms.
  4. Brazier, Yvette . “Asthma: Types, Causes, and Diagnosis.” Www.medicalnewstoday.com, 10 Nov. 2021, www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/323523#what-is-it.
  5. Katie Cameron. “Guide to Asthma.” WebMD, 12 Feb. 2002, www.webmd.com/asthma/what-is-asthma.
  6. “Monoclonal Antibodies.” Asthma Australia, asthma.org.au/medicines-treatment/medicines/monoclonal-antibodies/. Accessed 23 Mar. 2024.
  7. Pelaia, Corrado, et al. “Molecular Targets for Biological Therapies of Severe Asthma.” Frontiers in Immunology, vol. 11, 30 Nov. 2020, https://doi.org/10.3389/fimmu.2020.603312. Accessed 12 Mar. 2022.
  8. Ponce, Mario C., and Sandeep Sharma. “Pulmonary Function Tests.” PubMed, StatPearls Publishing, 2022, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK482339/.

 

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