Study Helps Explain Why Albuterol Benefits Some Asthma Patients More Than Others
Genes affect how asthma patients respond to albuterol, according to results of a new study of adults with mild asthma. Researchers in the Asthma Clinical Research Network (ACRN) of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), part of the National Institutes of Health, found that over time, how participants responded to daily doses of inhaled albuterol differed depending on which form of a specific gene they had inherited. While a few weeks of regular use of albuterol improved overall asthma control in individuals with one form of the gene, stopping all use of albuterol eventually improved asthma control in those with another form of the gene. Albuterol is the most commonly used drug for relief of acute asthma symptoms, or “attacks.”
The Beta-Adrenergic Response by Genotype (BARGE) trial is the first study of an asthma drug in patients selected according to their genotype, or which forms of a specific gene they have. Published in the October 23-29 issue of the Lancet,* the BARGE trial provides important insight as to why albuterol may benefit some people with asthma more than others. The findings could lead to better ways to individualize asthma therapy based on patients’ genetic patterns. “If we can pinpoint which individuals will do better with a certain type of therapy, we can improve their lives more quickly and save them -- and the healthcare system -- the expense and risk of trying drugs that are less effective for them,” comments Dr. Barbara Alving, NHLBI acting director. “This study helps put asthma at the forefront of pharmacogenetics.”
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