The BETTER-B programme aims to significantly improve the treatment of severe breathlessness in patients with advanced disease by establishing whether Mirtazapine, currently used as an antidepressant, is an effective treatment to reduce severe breathlessness even when people are not depressed.
Currently around 15 million people in Europe are affected by breathlessness, an experience that is often described as traumatizing for the patients and those close to them. New treatments for breathlessness are urgently needed as there is currently no licensed drug for the management of chronic breathlessness and the symptom can persist even when the underlying condition is optimally treated.
The project delivers a step change in the evidence-based management of breathlessness in palliative and end of life care, with wide-reaching impacts on patients and European societies.
The BETTER-B main trial lies at the heart of the project and consists of a large-scale randomised controlled trial, which will study the effects on mirtazapine on patients, their families or caregivers, as well as treatment and care costs. This patient-centred trial could result in reduced symptom burden and significant improvements in quality of life and well-being for patients and their family and friends.
The trial is supported by a thorough period of preparation, in which the research consortium will be focussing on setting up the trial and researching views, usual practice and experiences of European clinicians usually involved in the treatment of chronic breathlessness on the main medications to alleviate breathlessness. The results of the BETTER-B main trial will be used to facilitate the development of easily accessible and multi-lingual guidance on the management of breathlessness in advanced disease.
The consortium will additionally focus on communicating preliminary findings and results to the general public as well as the scientific community to make sure that BETTER-B actually reaches the people it’s meant for. To facilitate all of this, careful planning ensures that all the different work packages support each other, so that the BETTER-B project may become bigger than the sum of its parts.