London, In a breakthrough, researchers have for the first time in 20 years developed a new asthma pill which may have the power to significantly reduce the severity of the condition.
Fevipiprant significantly decreases the symptoms of asthma, improves lung function, reduces inflammation and repairs the lining of airways, researchers said.
"This new drug could be a game changer for future treatment of asthma," said Christopher Brightling from University of Leicester in the UK.
The first new asthma pill for nearly 20 years has the power to significantly reduce the severity of the condition, the study found.
The drug is currently being evaluated in late stage clinical trials for efficacy in patients with severe asthma. A total of 61 people took part in the research. One group was given 225 milligrammes 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.
The sputum eosinophil is an inflammation measurement of a white blood cell that increases in asthma and is used to assess the severity of this condition, researchers said.
People who do not have asthma have a percentage of less than one and those with moderate-to-severe asthma typically have a reading of about five per cent, they said.
The study found that the rate in people with moderate-to-severe asthma taking the medication was reduced from an average of 5.4 per cent to 1.1 per cent 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 computed tomography (CT) scans of the chest to give a complete picture of how the new drug works," said Brightling.
"Most treatments might improve some of these features of disease, but with Fevipiprant improvements were seen with all of the types of tests," Brightling said.
"This new treatment, Fevipiprant, could likewise help to stop preventable asthma attacks, reduce hospital admissions and improve day-to-day symptoms- making it a 'game changer' for future treatment," he added.
Asthma is a long-term condition that affects the airways. When a person with asthma comes into contact with something that irritates their sensitive airways it causes the body to react in several ways which can include wheezing, coughing and can make breathing more difficult, researchers said.
The findings were published in the The Lancet Respiratory Medicine journal.