A study led by the University of Leicester shows that a new asthma pill has the power to significantly reduce the severity of the condition.

Fevipiprant (QAW039, Novartis Pharma) notably decreased the symptoms of asthma, reduced inflammation, improved lung function, and repaired the lining of airways. The drug is currently being evaluated in late stage clinical trials for efficacy in patients with severe asthma, according to ClinTrials.gov.

A total of 61 people took part in the trial. One group was given 225 mg of the drug twice a day for 12 weeks and the other participants were assigned to a placebo group. Fevipiprant and the placebo were added to the medications the participants were already taking. The study was designed primarily to examine the effects on inflammation in the airway by measuring the sputum eosinophil count, which is an inflammation measurement of a white blood cell count that increases in asthma, according to Medical Xpress.

The rate in people with moderate-to-severe asthma taking the medication was reduced from 5.4% to 1.1% over 12 weeks.

“A unique feature of this study was how it included measurements of symptoms, lung function using breathing tests, sampling of the airway wall and CT scans of the chest to give a complete picture of how the new drug works,” says professor Christopher Brightling, who led the study at the NIHR Respiratory Biomedical Research Unit. “Most treatments might improve some of these features of disease, but with Fevipiprant improvements were seen with all of the types of tests.”

Brightling says the new treatment Fevipiprant could help stop preventable asthma attacks, reduce hospital admissions, and improve day-to-day symptoms, calling it a ‘game changer’ for the future treatment of asthma. Brightling says this latest advance underpinned the work of the Leicester Precision Medicine Institute, a Centre of Excellence that coalesces and aligns the research missions of the University of Leicester and the NHS in Leicester.

The research was funded by Novartis Phamraceuticals, the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), and the EU (AirPROM).

Source: Medical Xpress