Omaha Public Radio News
2:59 pm
Wed March 9, 2011

FDA approves a new drug to treat COPD

Omaha, NE – A new drug could help people with COPD reduce the symptoms associated with it.

COPD stands for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and includes both chronic bronchitis and emphysema. Dr. Stephen Rennard, Larson Professor of Medicine at UNMC says COPD is the third leading cause of death in the United States. He says it's a major public health problem, and symptoms include breathlessness, chronic cough and excessive production of phlegm. Current treatments rely heavily on bronchial-dilators, which help patients expel the air from their lungs. He says the FDA recently approved a new drug that can reduce problems associated with COPD. Dr. Rennard says, "this new therapy is not a bronchial dilator, but what it can do is help reduce what are called exacerbations. These are times when people with COPD have much worse than usual symptoms. Their shortness of breath can be worse. In addition, they can have much worse coughing and production of sputum or phlegm. People feel like they are suffocating, like they can't control their breathing. So reducing the risk of having those events is a very important thing."

Dr. Rennard was one of the clinical trial investigators on the new drug, called Daliresp.