Professional societies comment on the use of asthma spray against Covid-19.
FRANKFURT – Can a simple asthma spray be used as medicine that can shorten the duration of a Covid-19 infection and prevent serious illness? A study from Great Britain recently published in the journal “The Lancet Respiratory Medicine” suggests this conclusion. However, in a joint statement, experts from the German Association for Pneumology and Respiratory Medicine (DGP), the Austrian Lung Society (ÖGP) and the German Society for Allergy and Clinical Immunology (DGAKI) warned of “very high expectations”. The study is “not conclusive enough” to recommend broad application.
Specifically, it is about the active ingredient budesonide. As a powerful anti-inflammatory preparation, it has been used for many years to treat asthma patients and as an additional treatment for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). In the treatment of asthma, inhaled corticosteroids (ICS) are the “most important building block,” according to a letter from professional societies. There are indications that this treatment provides “additional protection against severe SARS-CoV-2 infection” in people with asthma. Suspected differently at the start of an epidemic, asthma patients rarely become seriously ill with the Covid-19 virus.
Coronary asthma spray: a placebo effect is possible
The current British study on budesonide came to the conclusion that the active ingredient could shorten the duration of symptoms of Covid 19 disease and reduce their severity. The three specialized societies consider the informational value limited primarily because the study was not “blind”.
This means that study participants and treating physicians know whether or not ICS is being inhaled. “A major placebo effect is possible here,” explains Marek Lomatzsch, chief physician in the department of respiratory medicine at the Center for Internal Medicine at the University of Rostock. Additionally, Klaus F. Rabe, chief physician at “LungenClinic” in Grosshansdorf, says it is a study “in which a relatively small number of study participants participated, and patients with asthma included in the study may have contributed to the positive outcome”.
In order to confirm the potential effect of budesonide on the Covid-19 pathway, “bigger and blind” studies are necessary, according to the opinion of professional associations. Based on the current study, “No recommendations can be made on general treatment of ICS for Covid-19 patients.” Also, the study should not “in any way” lead to the unavailability of budesonide in sufficient quantities for people with asthma or COPD. ”(Pamela Durhofer)