A Study Highlights the Benefit of a New Treatment for COPD. Could it Work in Rare Lung Diseases as Well?

According to a story from bioportfolio.com, a recent study has demonstrated the effectiveness of Trelegy Ellipta, a unique three component combination treatment, in reducing the effects of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). This information may not appear relevant to the rare disease community; after all, COPD is far from rare and affects hundreds of millions of people across the globe. However, it is possible that this treatment could have benefits for rarer lung diseases as well.

Trelegy Ellipta combines three different molecules, fluticasone furoate, umeclidinium, and vilanterol. Compared to other common COPD treatments, the drug resulted in a significant reduction in hospitalizations for patients. Hospitalizations can occur in COPD when patients experienced events deemed ‘acute exacerbations’ in which their condition suddenly worsens rapidly. These episodes can become more frequent as the disease progresses, and constant hospital trips can be a major burden to a patient’s quality of life and finances. Trelegy Ellipta is an inhaled corticosteroid that is meant to be taken once daily.

The study should be hailed a good news for COPD patients, but what utility does Trelegy Ellipta have in treating rare lung disease? As of now, there have been no trials to attempt to test the effectiveness of the treatment on other diseases. With that said, the drug combination may possibly have some potential. For example, corticosteroids, the class of drug to which Trelegy Ellipta belongs, are often used to treat a much rarer lung disease called sarcoidosis.

While current corticosteroids used to treat sarcoidosis can be sufficient, not all patients respond effectively. While there are some treatment alternatives available, sarcoidosis can still become severe, and even fatal, in a small majority of cases. This is most common when the disease become chronic. Regardless, it is possible that this new treatment could be a potentially viable alternative. However, there is still much research that would have to be done in order to find out; after all, it is possible that patients that do not respond to other corticosteroids may find no benefit from Trelegy Ellipta either.

GSK, the company that developed the drug, focuses primarily on meeting respiratory needs, such as COPD and asthma. Trialling Trelegy Ellipta against sarcoidosis, however, could be a new opportunity for them.

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