COPD - Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease - including chronic bronchitis and emphysema, is characterized by breathing difficulty due to partial blockage of the bronchial tubes. Asthma is a chronic lung disease caused by inflammation of the lower airways resulting in episodes of airflow obstruction, which has been found to be the fourth most common cause of death and affects nearly 16 million people in the United States. According to the American Lung Association, it is the most common childhood illness and affects approximately 8.6 million children under the age of 18.
A new study conducted at the Halifax Regional Hospital in South Boston, suggested Xopenex as a viable first-line therapy for hospitalized adult COPD or asthma patients. Lead author of the study, Terrance Truitt said that Xopenex is safe in a hospital setting, and is an effective alternative to racemic albuterol in treating the bronchial smooth muscle spasm associated with diseases such as COPD and asthma. The study involved the comparison of the treatment of 231 patients with similar background and disease conditions over two separate six-month periods. The first group had been treated with the previous standard treatment, the second group with Xopenex. It was found that the subjects showed significant symptom improvement and a change in the frequency of nebulizer treatments - in intervals of 6 to 8 hours. This change was achieved with a 1.25 mg dose of Xopenex. In addition, the Xopenex group needed only 2.0 +/- 2.6 days of ipratropium bromide treatments. Patients receiving Xopenex were found to require significantly less nebulizer therapy and less adjuvant respiratory therapy, according to the study.
Xopenex is being marketed as a nebulizer at dosage strengths of 0.31 mg and 0.63 mg for pediatric patients and as 0.63 mg and 1.25 mg for patients 12 years of age and older. Xopenex brand levalbuterol HCl inhalation solution is indicated for the treatment or prevention of bronchospasm in patients 6 years and older with reversible obstructive airway disease, such as asthma.