Asthma drug found to influence metabolism

THE bronchodilator eformoterol could have a future use in preventing frailty in the elderly, Australian research suggests.

A small trial, in which the usually inhaled drug was given in tablet form, found it could boost metabolism by almost 10% while it also reduced protein burning by almost 15%.

Dr Paul Lee, research fellow at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research, Sydney, said longer-term trials in a larger patient base would follow given the “promising” early results.

“Nobody has ever looked at the metabolic effects of this medication,” Dr Lee told MO.

“Burning less protein means preservation of muscle and may increase muscle mass in the long term, [so] I can see this medication as a potential therapeutic intervention in frailty.”

It could also offer a new approach to treating obesity, Dr Lee said, as fat oxidisation in the trial group was seen to rise by almost 25%.