New COPD drug approved by FDA: Better than available inhalers?
The FDA has approved a new inhaler drug for treatment of COPD. The drug Breo Ellipta is a combination of two medications. Can the drug help patients breathe better compared to what is already available, and how much will it cost?
The drug is not anything new actually. One part of the medication include a synthetic corticosteroid known as fluticasone furoate that is currently marketed by the drug company GlaxoSmithKline as Veramyst in the United States
Fluticasone furoat is also prescribed nasally to treat allergic rhinitis or hay fever.
The other part of the drug to treat COPD or emphysema is what is known as a beta adrenergic agonist – vilanterol that is long acting.
Beta adrenergic agonists have many medical uses including treatment of asthma, heart failure and allergic reactions.
Another medication in its class is albuterol that most patients with COPD are already using either in their nebulizers or as an inhaler.
Like other inhalers, the drug can cause respirtatory infections and ‘thrush’ - an infection of the mouth that requires separate treatment.
According to the FDA press release, Breo Ellipta was approved to provide another option for patient with COPD and chronic bronchitis.