The FDA has just approved Anoro Ellipta (umeclidinium and vilanterol inhalation powder) for the once-daily, long-term maintenance treatment of airflow obstruction in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Now listed as the third leading cause of death in the United States, COPD actually encompasses several lung afflictions including emphysema, which occurs when the alveoli (air sacs) at the end of the smallest bronchial tubes are eroded, as well as chronic bronchitis, or inflammation of the air passages making it difficult to breathe. Symptoms can include chest tightness, chronic cough and excessive phlegm.
Although it is impossible to reverse damage to the lungs from COPD,“Anoro Ellipta works by helping the muscles around the airways of the lungs stay relaxed to increase airflow in patients with COPD,” said Curtis Rosebraugh, M.D., M.P.H., director of the Office of Drug Evaluation II in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. “The availability of new long-term maintenance medications provides additional treatment options for the millions of Americans who suffer with this disease.”
The safety and efficacy the drug was determined in trials involving 2,400 patients, who exhibited marked improvement in lung function after taking it. The most common side effects reported included sore throat, sinus infection), lower respiratory tract infection, constipation, diarrhea, pain in extremity, muscle spasms, neck pain, and chest pain.
However, it was noted that Anoro Ellipta has the potential of causing serious side effects, including “narrowing and obstruction of the respiratory airway, cardiovascular effects, increased pressure in the eyes, and worsening of urinary retention.
For more information about COPD contact the American Lung Association at 1301 Pennsylvania Ave., NW Suite 800,Washington, DC 20004 or call 202 785-3355. You can also speak directly with a specialist by call the Lung HelpLine at 1-800-548-8252.