Inhalable Ibuprofen for CF Lung Inflammation

Ibuprofen is an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory that is used for headaches and other inflammatory conditions. The treatment’s anti-inflammatory properties have led researchers to explore the possibility that an inhalable form of ibuprofen could help people with cystic fibrosis (CF).

How Inhalable Ibuprofen Works

Earlier studies have found that if people with CF and mild lung disease took high-dose ibuprofen for four years, it would significantly slow the progression of the lung disease without serious adverse effects.1 However, long-term use of ibuprofen may result in stomach bleeding and, if combined with antibiotics that people with CF use for treating recurring lung infections, can cause acute kidney injury.

Researchers at the Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine hypothesized that a new delivery method could apply ibuprofen directly to the lungs without causing side effects: an inhalable form of nanoparticle ibuprofen delivered by an aerosol.

Because this would be basically a repurposed drug, and only the delivery method would be different, the researchers believe the development and regulatory-approval process should be relatively easy, compared with a new therapy.

The inhaled ibuprofen is supposed to work in conjunction with the antibiotics the patient is already taking for the underlying infection. That means ibuprofen also would act as an antimicrobial, in synergy with the antibiotics, killing pathogens better than either could do alone. The aerosol would have the same impact as high concentrations of ibuprofen but without the side effects.

Inhaled ibuprofen Studies

The Texas A&M researchers are seeking an international patent for the aerosol technology. They hope to begin discussions with the FDA soon about obtaining Investigational New Drug status so they can conduct clinical trials with the aerosol.

They are also planning to test the ibuprofen nanoparticles in the lungs of animals, measuring its concentrations in the lungs and blood. In addition, they will investigate ibuprofen nanoparticles’ capacity to improve pneumonia survival rates in animal models.2

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