JAMA LogoDrugs prescribed for treating high blood pressure previously reported positive results in the chronic inflammatory disease, multiple sclerosis (MS). It seems that a compound recommended for individuals suffering from asthma and other respiratory diseases is helpful in fighting MS. A recent study suggests that inclusion of the compound albuterol in MS treatment develops improved outcomes.

Experts believe that in MS, myelin is degenerated that coats nerve cells in white matter of the central nervous system. MS patients may report rise in the levels of interleukin-12, which is a biological compound boosting the production of a type of helper T cell linked with myelin destruction. It is known that albuterol sulfate which is generally employed for treating bronchospasm reduces interleukin-12 levels. During the study, scientists examined the effects of albuterol treatment as an add-on therapy for patients who begun their treatment with glatiramer acetate. It was mentioned that glatiramer acetate is an approved therapy for relapsing-remitting MS.

The investigators randomly selected 44 patients for receiving subcutaneous (underneath the skin) 20-milligram injections of glatiramer acetate everyday along with an oral dose of 4 milligrams of albuterol or placebo for two years. A neurologist analyzed these study subjects at the onset of the study and at six, 12, 18 and 24 months. Also blood samples were gathered at the beginning and three, six and 12 months of the analysis. At 12 months and 24 months of the investigation, Samia J. Khoury, M.D., of Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, and colleagues performed a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the brain.

Authors comment, “We conclude that treatment with glatiramer acetate plus albuterol is well tolerated and improves clinical outcomes in patients with multiple sclerosis. The combined regimen seems to enhance clinical response during the first year of therapy.”

Amongst the volunteers, 39 patients participated till the analysis could be appropriately developed. While going through functional status, it was noted that glatiramer acetate and albuterol group had positive results than the placebo group at six months and 12 months but not at 24 months. A delay in the time to the first relapse was probably enjoyed by patients taking albuterol as compared to those provided with placebo.

Through the blood tests it was pointed out that generation of two inflammatory markers called as interleukin-13 and interferon-gamma was reduced in both treatment groups. A treatment effect on interleukin-13 appeared at the 12-month time point. Scientists elucidate that most of the adverse events were mild and only three moderate or severe events were associated to the treatment. Such events seemingly included reaction at the glatiramer acetate injection site, leg weakness and chest tightness.

The study is published in the September issue of Archives of Neurology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.