Top 5 Most-Read Respiratory Stories of 2020

December 29, 2020
Skylar Jeremias

The top 5 most-read respiratory stories of 2020 on AJMC.com largely focused on the treatment options and risks associated with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) as well as how mental health and asthma are related.

Although the pandemic has garnered most of the world’s attention this year, the top 5 most-read respiratory stories of 2020 on AJMC.com delved into some new evidence on treatment for idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) and a bit on the intersection between mental health and asthma.

IPF treatments were addressed in 2 of the top 5 stories, which showed the benefits of using nintedanib and therapeutic biomarkers in patients. Another story looked at the risks of developing certain cancers for people with IPF.

Two of the stories looked at mental health and asthma, with one examining any links between depression and anxiety in pregnant women and future respiratory issues in offspring, and the other focusing on the FDA’s new mental health warning for a popular asthma medication.

5. Nintedanib Exhibits Superior Cost-effectiveness to Pirfenidone for Treatment of IPF, Study Finds

Researchers looked the cost-effectiveness of using nintedanib compared with pirfenidone for the treatment of IPD, finding that ninedanib resulted in a lower estimated total cost than pirfenidone. The study used a Markov model to conduct an economic analysis that calculated cost outcomes over a patient’s lifetime and was likely the first analysis to use long-term survival data for nintedanib-treated patients with IPF.

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4. Depression, Anxiety in Pregnancy Linked to Worse Respiratory Health in Children, Study Suggests

A study found that depression and anxiety in pregnant women is associated with an increased risk of asthma development and partly lower lung function in children. Researchers suggested that fetal lung development may be disrupted when pregnant women experience psychological distress. The study also examined, and was the first to do so, whether psychological distress felt by fathers during pregnancy impacted respiratory risks, finding that it was not linked to asthma development.

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3. Patients With IPF Are at Increased Risk for Multiple Cancers

Researchers found that patients with IPF have an increased risk of developing several forms of cancer, especially lung cancer. In addition to lung cancer, the study detected increased incidences of lymphoma, skin cancer, uterine cervical cancer, multiple myeloma, thyroid cancer, leukemia, pancreatic cancer, liver cancer, and prostate cancer in patients with IPF compared with their matched controls. Researchers noted that chronic inflammation associated with IPF may play a role in cancer pathogenesis.

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2. Emerging Therapeutic Innovations for Treatment of Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis

One study this year had researchers highlighting new therapeutic options and potential future approaches to treating IPF, including pirfenidone, nintedanib, combination therapies using both of them, and therapeutic biomarkers. In particular, biomarkers have become a way for researchers to personalize therapy for patients with IPF and were used in 2 studies including patients receiving pirfenidone. Combination therapies have also been found to have feasible safety and tolerability profiles in patients IPF.

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1. FDA Steps Up Warning for Montelukast for Risk of Mental Health Side Effects

In March, FDA began requiring a boxed warning for montelukast (Singulair), a widely-used medication used to treat asthma and allergy symptoms, warning patients about potentially severe mental health side effects, including thoughts of suicide. The warning advises physicians to avoid prescribing the drug to patients with mild asthma or allergy symptoms. The agency’s warning makes these side effects more known to providers, patients, and caregivers who may not have been aware of the risks, which were included in the drug’s updated prescribing information in 2008.

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