Emerging drugs for the treatment of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Expert opinion on emerging drugs, 2006; 11 (2) doi:10.1517/14728214.11.2.275

Authors: Malhotra Samir, Man S F Paul, Sin Don D

Affiliation: St. Paul's Hospital, Canada

Abstract: By 2020 chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) will be the third leading cause of mortality and fifth leading cause of morbidity. Research over the past two decades has shed important insights on the pathobiology of COPD, leading to the development of novel drugs. In the past, symptomatic treatment with bronchodilators was the predominant focus of COPD management. With increased awareness of the importance of airway inflammation in COPD progression, there has been a shift in emphasis to drugs that attack various targets in the inflammatory cascade. These drugs include phosphodiesterase 4 inhibitors, leukotriene modifiers and TNF antagonists, which are poised to enter the COPD market in the very near future. Tyrosine kinase antagonists, inhibitors of NF-kappaB, neutrophil elastase inhibitors, chemokine antagonists, mucolytics and novel antibiotics are being evaluated for possible effectiveness in COPD. Many of these drugs may enter the COPD market within the next decade. This paper reviews the molecular rationale for these emerging drugs and their potential efficacy in COPD.

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