Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary disease(COPD) is a series of lung diseases that make it extremely difficult for persons affected with this disease to breath properly. It is a frequent cause of ICU admissions. Treatment requires invasive mechanical ventilation because noninvasive ventilation methods often are not successful at alleviating the effects of this disease.
Acetalzolamide is a medication used as a noninvasive method of relieving COPD symptoms. However this medication does not have the FDA indication to treat COPD and no studies were done to see if this medication was even effective in doing such. This article is a double blind study that had patients taking 500-1ooo mg of Acetazolamide to test its effectiveness as a COPD treating agent.
The results of the study actually found that there was NO difference in symptoms when Acetazolamide was administered. However, it is important to note that the researchers conducting the study, said that certain aspects of the study could have been underpowered to establish statistical significance.
Why was this drug allowed to be used for so long to treat a condition it was not FDA approved to treat without first having thorough research done proving its efficacy? What does this mean or how does this change the ways in which we introduce a new drug therapy?
Faisy C, Meziani F, Planquette B, et al. Effect of Acetazolamide vs Placebo on Duration of Invasive Mechanical Ventilation Among Patients With Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease: A Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA. 2016;315(5):480-488. doi:10.1001/jama.2016.0019.