INHALABLE ibuprofen could result in an effective and tolerable drug that helps slow the progression of lung function decline in cystic fibrosis (CF) patients, research suggests.
Researchers from the Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine, Bryan, Texas, USA, are currently working on a form of ibuprofen that is delivered directly to the lungs. Previous research has shown that at high doses, ibuprofen slows the decline of lung function in patients with cystic fibrosis. This can help to prevent chronic lung infections that are caused by the patient’s lungs being no longer able to remove particles, such as bacteria. The side effects of routinely taking ibuprofen at a high dose can result in gastrointestinal bleeding. Acute kidney injury is also possible when combined with the antibiotics CF patients take for recurring lung infections.
The development of inhalable ibuprofen could allow the benefits of the drug to be experienced while also avoiding the negative side effects that occur at high doses. “We feel that nanoparticle ibuprofen delivered by aerosol to the lungs would be a fantastic therapeutic,” said Prof Carolyn Cannon, College of Medicine, Texas A&M Health Science Center, Bryan, Texas, USA. She added that because it was a repurposed drug in which the only difference would be the delivery method, approval and development should be relatively easy in comparison with a novel drug.
Prof Cannon also explained that from previous research it was thought that the benefits CF patients experienced from ibuprofen resulted from inhibiting the neutrophils to the lung and preventing inflammation: “However, although this may be one mechanism of action, at the high doses that were being given to the CF patients, the drug also has antimicrobial properties.”
Inhaled ibuprofen could also work in conjunction with the antibiotics that are taken to treat underlying infections. Prof Cannon explained that: “Together, they kill the pathogens much better than either one alone and we could get the same great effects of the high concentrations of ibuprofen without the side effects.”
The research team are now pursuing international patent protection for their drug technology. They hope to soon secure its status as an Investigational New Drug after discussions with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to allow for future clinical trials.