Patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) at Heartlands Hospital could soon be benefiting from a new drug that will improve their breathing, following a world-first clinical trial. If successful, the new medication (which is yet to be named), will be the first ‘3 in 1’ inhaler to relieve the symptoms of COPD.
The respiratory and research teams at the hospital enrolled 11 COPD patients from Heartlands Hospital on the world-wide TRILOGY clinical trial to test the effects of the inhaler, which contains all three of the commonly used drugs for COPD. COPD symptoms include breathlessness, coughs and chest infections. It’s hoped that the new inhaler will make it easier for patients to take their drugs, as well as potentially improving lung function and reducing chest infection rates, but it won’t be known if the trial is a success until June 2016.
It was World COPD Day yesterday and it’s estimated that two million people in the UK have the condition but are currently undiagnosed. Over 1,800 patients are admitted every year to Heartlands Hospital with COPD related illnesses.
63 year-old Trevor Shaw, from Ward End in Birmingham, finished the 12 month trial recently and quickly noticed the difference in his breathing when he changed back to his original medication. Since he was diagnosed with COPD four years ago, Trevor’s life has changed dramatically. He takes two different types of medication between eight and ten times a day and had to change his job as an active supermarket security guard to a stationary security position.
Trevor said: “COPD has changed my life entirely – I can’t exercise or do the things that I used to, like running and weight training, but I’ve learned to adjust. I still live my life – it’s just different to how it was before.” Trevor added: “I really noticed the difference when I went back to using my normal inhalers after finishing the clinical trial. I hope that the ‘3 in 1’ inhaler will soon be available for patients like me so that the quality of their lives can start to improve.”
Dr Alice Turner, respiratory consultant and director of research at Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust said: “COPD is one of the most common causes of hospital admissions, with one in every eight Heartlands patients being admitted with COPD flare-ups. Clinical trials like this one are vital to help improve the quality of life and outlook of patients with this disease.”
If you want to find out more about taking part in research, please contact the Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust research and development team on 0121 424 3631.