Is your body clock affecting the effectiveness of your COPD medications?

It is well known that the body clock regulates sleep, with many side effects such headaches, dizziness, confusion, jet lag etc. as well as regulating our immune system. It is also accepted that many lung diseases indeed show a strong time of day effect, including asthma, and deaths from pneumonia. Recent findings, published in Nature Medicine, show that even the drugs widely used to treat lung diseases also work with the body clock.

In research, led by Professors David Ray and Andrew Loudon from The University of Manchester, it was discovered that cells lining the lung airways have their own body clock which is the time-keeper for lung inflammation. The team discovered that more severe lung inflammation occurs when the body clock stops working in these cells. In addition, during the research, the team uncovered that glucocorticoid hormones from the adrenal gland are vital in controlling the inflammation in the cells lining the airway. This finding established that medicines like prednisolone or dexamethasone would also be affected by the time of day that they were administered.

Our lives center around our bodies internal clock, anticipating times to wake and to sleep, and are easily affected by time changes such as time zone changes in travel, and even some problems for some in changing from standard to daylight savings time. This may explain why medications to treat lung diseases can suddenly become ineffective.

A simple change in the time of day that you take a specific medication might make a huge difference in its effectiveness.


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