Asthma: Improved Testing and Improved Zileuton Medication

Bronchial Asthma disease occurs when airways constrict in the respiratory system. In the United States, approximately 20 million people and almost nine million children have been diagnosed with asthma. The airways get narrow because of an increase in mucus narrowing the airways and less air flows through to the lungs. The restriction of the airway passage is triggered by exposure to an environmental stimulate such as allergens (dust mites, animal dander, cockroaches, Pollen from trees and grass, and mold), cold air, and irritants (cigarette smoke, scented products, air pollution, and odors from paint or cooking, strong emotions of laughter, crying and stress) causing Bronchial Hyperactivity (BHR). Also, asthma maybe caused by a reaction to medications, infections, and gastroesophageal disease (Reflux disease causing heartburn and increase asthma symptoms, especially at night).

Asthma in children is commonly caused by a viral illness such as a cold. Symptoms include shortness of breath, wheezing, chest tightness and coughing. Asthma is not curable but can be controlled by medication. Asthma patients can have normal lives going to school or work. Responding quickly when symptoms start develop, avoids the peril of a severe asthma episode, which may require immediate medical attention or else be life threatening. Statistically, more boys have asthma than girls, and during adulthood more women have asthma than men. Thirty percent chance of inheriting asthma, one parent has the disease and a seventy percent when both parents have asthma.

Approximately, eighty percent of children and fifty percent of adults with asthma have allergies. Also, more African Americans than Caucasians are likely to be hospitalized for asthma and die from the disease. Medication is available to treat asthma, includes quick relief or long – term control medicines. Most asthma medications are inhaled which is called a reliever. The medication contains bronchodilator medicine that opens up the air passage (bronchial tubes) of the lungs and works in a few minutes Also, most asthma medications are generally safe to take during pregnancy.

When an extreme asthma attack occurs, treatment may require assisting the lungs and respiratory muscles by a mechanical ventilator. A face – mask or breathing tube is inserted in the nose or mouth for treatment. Once the asthma attack subsides, the breath aid is removed or temporarily removed if the condition prompts further treatment.

A physician that treat asthma patients may use a spirometer, measures how the patient’s lungs are working. During the test, the patient blows out air from the lungs after taking a deep breath, and how fast this can be done. When airways become inflamed, narrowed or if the muscles around the airways have tightened up, expected lower test results. Medication maybe administered prior to take the test again, ascertaining better results. Spirometry test cannot be performed on children younger than five years old. Additionally, other tests including a chest x ray and electrocardiogram maybe needed to confirm the diagnoses of lung disease, heart disease or foreign object maybe contributing to the symptoms of asthma. Depending on a patient severity of asthma symptoms, classified in one of four statuses: Mild Intermittent (30%), mild persistent (30%), moderate persistent, and severe persistent asthma (40%).

In the United States asthma is the leading cause of chronic illness, according to American Lung Association. In 2006, FDA approved a new device called Oscillmetry, a diagnostic device tests children under the age of six years old for asthma, for the first time. According to Dr. Deborah Gentile, an allergist and asthma specialist at Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh, the device works by a child under six year old, breathe in and out normally (Into a mouthpiece for about 15 to 30 seconds), and then it sends out waves of sound that bounce into he child’s lungs and back into the machine.

Depending on how it echoes back, measures how open the airway exists. The computer calculates airway resistance. The spirometry test does not work well with children under six years of age, because they find it difficult to follow instructions and take deep breaths in and out. Diagnosing asthma at an early age can prevent long – term damage and improve outcomes. Some physicians use the Oscillmetry on adults, because it is more effective determining changes in breathing that may not be detected by spirometry.

Zileuton (brand name Zyflo) medication developed by Abbott Laboratories (In December 2003, Critical Therapeutics Incorporated acquired the rights to zileuton from Abbott Laboratories.) prescribed to treat mild to moderate chronic asthma, decrease the symptoms, and limit the number of asthma attacks. However the medication is not recommended when asthma attack starts. According to Zyflo ” … is a member of a new class of antibi-leukotriene asthma medicines that acts as a leukotriene pathway inhibitor (LPI) by inhibiting enzyme 5-lipoxygenase (5-LO). Zyflo inhibits the formation of leukotrienes.

Leukotrienes are molecules that contribute to the inflammation, swelling (edma), bronchoconstriction (tightening of muscles wrapped around the outside of the airways) and mucus secretion seen in the airways of patients with asthma.” The medication is available by oral tablets. The average dosage for adults and children twelve years and older is 600 milligrams four times a day. When a dosage is missed prior to the next scheduled time, continue onto the next regular dosage schedule, but do not double dose. Those taking Zileuton should not discontinue the medication, unless instructed by their physician. The medication has shown problems when administered during trial tests on pregnant rabbits.

The medication is not recommended for women that will breast feed. When taking Zileuton, the patient need to inform their physician if other medications are being taken, may cause an adverse reaction. Alcoholism or liver disease, increase serious side effects taking the medication. Common side effects taking Zileuton include Nausea and upset stomach. Rarely patients develop flu – like symptoms, itching, tiredness, weakness, yellow eyes or skin or right upper abdominal pain.

In August 2006, SkyerPharma PLC and its partner Critical Therapeutics Incorporated submitted to the Food and Drug Administration improved anti – inflammatory drug zileuton for treating asthma in adults and children. The new formulation of Zyflo taken twice a day compared to the previous marketed drug taken four times a day. Manufacture of Zyflo expects approval from the FDA in the second half of 2007.

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