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New research conducted at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton has found a biologic that may reduce the need of steroid-based medications for patients with severe asthma - improving their quality of life.

Many patients who suffer from severe asthma take steroid-based medications – such as prednisone – to control their symptoms. But these types of medications carry with them a risk of long-term side effects, such as headaches, nausea, sleep problems and weight gain.

This new trial found that giving patients with severe asthma a biologic called Benralizumab reduced their use of steroid-based medications by up to 75%.

“Benralizumab almost completely removes a white blood cell called eosinophil from the circulation and from lung tissue. Longer term studies with this drug are necessary to be absolutely certain of the safety of this treatment strategy,” says Dr. Parameswaran Nair, the study’s lead investigator, respirologist at St. Joseph's Healthcare Hamilton and professor of medicine at McMaster University.

“However, the results are promising and would likely provide physicians with a useful strategy to treat patients with severe asthma and avoid the dreadful long-term adverse effects of corticosteroids.”

After regulatory review, this new treatment could be available for doctors to prescribe in Canada, the United States, Europe and beyond.

This trial was funded by AstraZeneca.

Read more about this study on CBC News and ScienceDaily.

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