Because eosinophilic airway inflammation is a characteristic of bronchial asthma, the treatment of such inflammation is important in the management of this disease. Suplatast tosilate is a novel anti-asthma drug that supresses eosinophil proliferation and infiltration through selective inhibition of Th2 cytokine synthesis. We investigated the effect of oral suplatast tosilate therapy in patients with mild and moderate asthma. Twenty-eight asthma patients were randomized into two groups with or without suplatast tosilate treatment (100 mg t.i.d. for 28 days). We examined the blood eosinophil counts, eosinophilic cationic protein level, sputum eosinophil count, exhaled nitric oxide level, and airway responsiveness before and after treatment. In patients treated with suplatast tosilate, the eosinophil count in the blood and sputum was significantly decreased after treatment, while there was no such change in the patients without suplatast treatment. The exhaled nitric oxide level and airway responsiveness (measured using an Astograph) were also decreased after treatment with suplatast tosilate, while there were no significant changes in patients without suplatast tosilate. These results strongly suggest that oral administration of suplatast tosilate suppresses airway hyperresponsiveness in asthma patients by reducing eosinophilic inflammation in the airways.
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