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hard-to-treat asthma

Show 946: Could an Inexpensive Drug Cure Hard-to-Treat Asthma and Ease COPD?

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It’s hard to enjoy life to the fullest when you can’t catch your breath. Ongoing breathing difficulties result most frequently from a chronic condition such as asthma or COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease).

Neither of these is considered an infectious disease, yet there is evidence that long-term use of a common antibiotic can significantly reduce exacerbations of COPD. These affect a patient’s quality of life and sometimes land them in the hospital with complications. In addition, the same drug may be useful for some cases of hard-to-treat asthma.

How Could Azithromycin Help People with Hard-to-Treat Asthma?

While COPD and asthma appear to be different diseases, the treatments for them are often similar. We talk with a physician about his research suggesting that many cases of asthma that start in adulthood are a consequence of a lung infection with bacteria that are difficult to detect, diagnose and treat.

The Patient’s Perspective:

We also get the patient’s perspective from a young athlete whose ability to compete was compromised until she finally recovered from the C. pneumoniae infection that was making it hard for her to breathe during races.

Might antibiotic treatment be appropriate for you or a family member with breathing difficulties? Listen to find out.

This Week’s Guests:

Richard Albert, MD, is Chief of Medicine at Denver Health and Professor of Medicine at the University of Colorado in Denver. He is a specialist in pulmonary and critical care medicine.

His article on azithromycin to reduce exacerbations of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease was published in The New England Journal of Medicine on August 25, 2011.

His most recent research on the topic was published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine on April 29, 2014.

Malia Cali is a student athlete at the University of North Carolina. Her story can be found in Dr. Hahn’s book.

David Hahn, MD, MS, is Director of the Wisconsin Research and Education Network (WREN) and author of a new book, A Cure for Asthma? What Your Doctor Isn’t Telling You–and Why. Disclosure: Dr. Hahn’s book is published by People’s Pharmacy Press.

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