Asthma and Clinical Trials

Asthma is a chronic respiratory condition that requires regular treatment, even between attacks. This disease is caused due to bronchoconstriction, when the bronchus to narrow sand restrict the amount of air passing into and out of the lungs. This can be triggered by an allergen such as pollen or dust. Most of the medications used to control asthma attacks are taken by inhalation, which has the benefit of easy administration and fewer side effects. A doctor tries to give the smallest dose of medication for symptom control with the best tolerability of the treatment.

The goal of asthma control is to minimize the side effects of treatment while reducing the number of episodes and emergency calls. Treatment of an asthma attack varies depending on the severity of the attack.

Below are some of the pharmaceutical options currently available to people suffering from asthma.

Inhaled Corticosteroids

These anti-inflammatory drugs are the most commonly used for long-term asthma control. They work by reducing the tightening and swelling in the airways. Generally, these drugs do not cause serious side effects and benefits outweigh the risks in children.

Long-Acting Beta Agonists (LABAs)

Taken in combination with an inhaled corticosteroid, these bronchodilator medications are used to control moderate to severe asthma and reduce swelling for at least 12 hours. Crisis medications to manage asthma attacks include administering short-acting beta-2 agonists. These drugs are used for symptomatic treatment of the asthma attacks, and they only provide temporary relief from the symptoms of bronchoconstriction.

Ipratropium Bromide

Ipratropium bromide inhalation, although rarely used for managing asthma attacks, presents another pharmaceutical approach towards preventing bronchoconstriction. This anticholinergic drug blocks the action of a chemical that causes the muscle in the airways to contract. Although ipratropium bromide is less effective than inhaled beta-2 agonists, which act almost immediately, it is sometimes used when an individual cannot tolerate beta-2 agonists. It takes 1 to 2 hours for maximum effect.


Taken orally, these drugs decrease inflammation caused by leukotrienes, substances contributing to the inflammatory response in people with asthma. They can be used alone or in combination with inhaled corticosteroids. Anti-leukotrienes are indicated to prevent asthma during exercise, and in mild asthma for people whose condition is not controlled by inhaled corticosteroids alone.


Hundreds of clinical trials for asthma are taking place around the country at any given time. In order to move forward, they need to enroll participants. Some clinical trials are evaluating potential new treatments for severe asthma or asthma that is not well controlled. Others seek to identify better treatments for children with asthma or study ways to improve the quality of life for asthma patients.

Clinical trials for asthma can be located on various websites and social media platforms, including those managed hospitals, health care institutions, the government, and nonprofit mental health organizations.

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