Beta blocker medications, which are used to treat high blood pressure, glaucoma, and heart disease were typically considered dangerous to be used on people with asthma. New evidence uncovered by researchers at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas have found that one beta blocker, nadolol, could actually help reduce airway constriction in asthma sufferers.
So far the nadolol tests have only been performed on laboratory mice and a handful of human subjects, but the results have been so positive that Baylor College has been asked to spearhead a three-year study into the effects of nadolol on asthma. The $4.2 million project will receive funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) as well as its subsidiary, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). Duke University in North Carolina and Washington University in Missouri will also be participating in the study to make wide-spread determinations of the effectiveness of nadolol on asthma.
Asthmatics have inflamed air passages which produce increased amounts of mucus and make breathing more difficult. Most beta blockers, such as propranolol, will constrict airways, making breathing even more labored for those with the excess mucus caused by asthma. Nadolol has been found to aid breathing by stopping mucus production. It does not work the same way as a bronchodilator, which increases the space in air passages. This means it may be possible to use nadolol in conjunction with a bronchodilator to further facilitate breathing for asthma sufferers.\
Nadolol must be administered in a specific way in order to be effective. “Newer research shows that when a beta blocker called nadolol is given to mice with asthma in low doses and then gradually increased, it can actually benefit their ability to breathe,” said Dr. Nick Hanania, the study’s principal investigator and associate professor of medicine – pulmonary at BCM.
The study will begin by testing men and women aged 18 to 60 with mild asthma. If the results continue to be positive, testing on those with more severe asthma may be tested.
If you are between 18-60, have mild asthma, are not currently taking any medication beyond rescue inhalers, and would like to take part in the study, please call 713-873-8772 or e-mail [email protected] for more information. There will be compensation for time and travel expenses.