New research from Japan holds promise for a new treatment, using a common anti-psychotic drug, for asthma patients resistant to corticosteroids.
In a study published in the journal Nature Communications and reported by the Medical Express Website, researchers from the RIKEN Center for Integrative Medical Sciences and Keio University in Japan found the drug Pimozide can be used to overcome resistance to steroids in severe asthma patients.
Asthma, a chronic inflammation of the airways, can be controlled with a moderate dose of inhaled corticosteroids
in most patients. But up to 10 percent of patients don’t respond well to steroids and experience uncontrolled and frequent asthma attacks.
But the new research found a type of white blood cell called natural helper (NH) cells plays a critical role in corticosteroid resistance.
The Japanese team also found that Pimozide, an approved anti-psychotic drug, that restored the effects of steroids on NH cells.
"Therefore, administration of Pimozide or related drugs would be an effective treatment in human severe asthmatic patients," the researchers concluded.