A study included in the New England Journal of Medicine in August 2011 reveals that an experimental drug called lebrikizumab may be the answer for people whose asthma doesn't respond to other, more common, treatment strategies.

Getting Personal With This New Drug

A group of researchers recently tested lebrikizumab on a group of patients and discovered that it works by addressing one of the receptors that's involved in the respiratory inflammation that often occurs with asthma.

But while the drug seemed to make a significant impact on the problem, the level of relief it provided relied on the patient's specific course of asthma. Those with a higher level of a certain type of serum that's linked to asthma also had a higher level of improvement from the medication. On the other hand, people with lower levels of this serum had less symptom improvements.

These findings are essential on two levels. First, they show the promise that exists in this experimental drug and they also reinforce the need to look at each asthmatic's case individually when designing the most effective treatment strategy.

Logistics of This New Asthma Drug

It's also important to note that the new drug needs to be injected once a month, which can make it less appealing for many patients who would prefer a pill or inhaler they can take themselves in their own setting rather than needing to see their doctor or nurse.

But if you're an asthmatic grapping with symptoms that don't respond to anything else, a monthly injection can be a small inconvenience that comes with big gains, such as improved breathing, fewer symptoms, and improved quality of life.

 Researchers also suggest that this medication can be duplicated in inhaled- or pill-form in the future so that you can take it with ease in the comfort of your own home. But larger studies need to be conducted first to vary the overall safety of this experimental drug before it's released to the public in any form.

Finding the Best Strategy/Drugs to Treat Asthma

While you wait for this experimental drug to be widely available, you don't have to suffer out-of-control asthma. If your symptoms don't seem to respond as well as they should to whatever treatment methods you're currently using, now is a good time to talk to your doctor about your specific circumstances and work together to develop a strategy that's tailored to your individual asthma case.

With some persistence, your doctor can find the best approach for your chronic illness and get your hard-to-treat asthma symptoms under control once and for all.




Corren, Jonathan et al. "Lebrikizumab Treatment in Adults with Asthma." New England Journal of Medicine, 3 Aug. 2011 (online). Web. 18 Sept. 2011.

Kraft, Monica. "Editorial: Asthma Phenotypes and Interleukin-13 - Moving Closer to Personalized Medicine." New England Journal of Medicine, 31 Aug. 2011.  Web. 18 Sept. 2011.