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Telithromycin Effective Treatment for Asthma - Study Found Antibiotic Can Be Used To Treat Acute Asthma Attacks and Symptoms

April 17th 2006

Telithromycin Effective Treatment for Asthma - Study Found Antibiotic Can Be Used To Treat Acute Asthma Attacks and Symptoms

Asthma Treatment

London researchers say that the antibiotic, telithromycin, can hasten the recovery time of patients who have had asthma attacks by three days, as will reduce symptoms and improving lung function.  The study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, demonstrated that this antibiotic can be used effectively to treat acute asthma attacks.

The antibiotic is not currently used for treating asthma.  Telithromycin is made by the world’s third largest pharmaceutical company, sanofi-aventis.  The study, part of the TELICAST (TELIthromycin, Chlamydophila and ASThma) study, investigated 278 patients at 70 centers around the world.

This was a randomized double blind study.  Within 24 hours of an acute asthma attack, patients were given either a single 800mg dose of telithromycin daily, or a placebo, in addition to their usual treatment. 


The symptoms and lung functions for the patients in the telithromycin group improved significantly compared to those in the placebo group.  The improvements were “twice as great at the end of the treatment period.”   

The recovery time was also reduced.  The recovery time for the placebo group was eight days while the recovery time for the telithromycin group was only five days, on average. 

Interestingly, asthma attacks are recognized to be associated with viral infections.  Antibiotics, like telithromycin, are only effective against bacterial infections.  The researchers believe the positive effects of telithromycin may be a result of its impact on the atypical bacteria, Chlamydophila pneumoniae and Mycoplasma pneumoniae.  These two bacterial infections may increase the severity of the asthma attacks.  It is also believed that the anti-inflammatory properties of telithromycin may play a role in reducing recovery time.


Dr. Sebastian Johnston said “"Traditionally antibiotics have not proven effective in treating asthma attacks, but this development could open up a whole new area of research in the treatment of asthma. Although we're not sure about the exact mechanism which caused this antibiotic to be effective, this study indicates it does clearly have a beneficial effect. We still need further trials to confirm these results, to investigate the mechanisms of action of this treatment, to see if the same benefits are seen with other related antibiotics and to see which patients are most likely to benefit." 

Sebastian is a professor from the Imperial College London, and lead researcher.  The team included researchers from the Imperial College of London, the University of Milan, the University of Auckland, the National Jewish Medical Centre, USA, G.R. Micro Ltd, London, and sanofi-aventis, USA.

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Best Syndication

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Copyright 2005 Best Syndication                   Last Updated Saturday, July 10, 2010 09:51 PM