Breathlessness is the feeling of being out of breath as your lungs work harder to draw in more oxygen. Persistent breathlessness is when this persists long-term, despite treatment of the underlying condition. It is a frightening symptom that leads to increased distress for patients, families and carers.
Research has shown it is often neglected or under-treated. Our international partners have worked to improve its visibility by growing the knowledge base for treatments which work to improve breathlessness self-management and quality of life, and those that don’t.
Because of its link between mind and body, persistent breathlessness is best targeted with a range of treatments to suit the individual. These can focus on non-drug treatments like breathlessness toolkits, however sometimes optimising treatment of the underlying disease plus non-drug treatments are not enough, and so drug treatments sometimes become necessary.
International breathlessness experts from respiratory, palliative care and rehabilitative specialisms are joining in 2019 for a European Commission funded trial to test whether an antidepressant can be repurposed to help in managing breathlessness where non-drug treatments cannot be effectively used.