A positive role for nicotine

| August 30, 2017

Lung experts at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center are testing whether nicotine can help people with a chronic inflammatory lung disease called sarcoidosis, according to a story on news-medical.net.

Why nicotine? “Around 2000, we learned two things,” said Dr. Elliott Crouser, a pulmonologist specializing in sarcoidosis.

“There was new evidence that nicotine is an anti-inflammatory, and from other studies we discovered smokers were less likely to get sarcoidosis.

“So we’re testing whether nicotine can be a solution. We hope people will actually get a secondary benefit – not only will their lung disease get better, but they’ll feel more energized and have better quality of life.”

Crouser described sarcoidosis as “tricky” because it mimicked other diseases. “It’s frequently misdiagnosed,” he said. “Sarcoidosis can look like lung nodules, pneumonia, scar tissue, even lung cancer. It can involve other vital organs, and it differs from one person to the next.”

Left untreated, sarcoidosis can cause severe lung damage and even death. And unlike in the case of most lung diseases, the main symptom isn’t shortness of breath, but debilitating fatigue.

Current treatments such as steroids often have side effects harsher than the symptoms of the disease itself. “We can’t use the medications for very long before these side effects occur,” said Crouser. “They can be severe, such as the development of osteoporosis, cataracts, diabetes or high blood pressure and complications related to those.

“We need better, more tolerable options.”

So Crouser is leading a clinical trial at the Wexner Medical Center to test nicotine patches as a potential treatment for sarcoidosis.

The full story is at: https://www.news-medical.net/news/20170828/Lung-experts-test-nicotine-patches-as-potential-treatment-for-sarcoidosis.aspx.

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Category: Breaking News, Harm reduction, People, Science

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