'Miracle' drug gives hope to asthmatics

A WOMAN in her 30s who suffers so badly from asthma that she was unable to even laugh without coughing has had her life transformed thanks to pioneering new treatment at Ipswich Hospital.

John Howard

A WOMAN in her 30s who suffers so badly from asthma that she was unable to even laugh without coughing has had her life transformed thanks to pioneering new treatment at Ipswich Hospital.

Dimple Vithlani, 34, from Pinewood in Ipswich, is a severe asthmatic who struggled to walk very far or hold a long conversation.

The manager with Colchester based Caring Homes Group would regularly be admitted to hospital and took boxes full of drugs to keep her condition under control.

Now, after her hospital specialist lobbied for primary care trust funding, she has been treated with Xolair, an injection which she has had every four weeks.

The medicine leaves her having to rest for 24-hours and suffering from light headedness, but then allows her to lead a normal life for the rest of the month.

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She now plans to marry her partner of four years, Suffolk County Council employee Jason Skilton, 33.

She said: “I have been taking an injection called Xolair for over a year now which has recently become available on the NHS.

“I am a severe asthmatic and my consultant at Ipswich Hospital tried everything but we did not know why I was so bad. I was regularly in hospital and had a lot of time off work.

“Dr Nick Innes applied for me last year to have four weekly injections and within the first four weeks there was a huge difference.

“It's not easy with children and asthma, being rushed into hospital all the time. But the hospital has been wonderful and without my consultant's help I do not know what would have happened.

“Since I started I know a few other fortunate asthmatics are also receiving the treatment in the county. I never used to be able to go to the gym or talk or laugh without coughing. I am now able to go to exercise, have less time off work and have not been admitted to hospital for an attack since my injections.

“I am due to get married in August and we have been together for four years and Jason has seen me through the tough times with my asthma.

“I was a single parent when we met and he helped me to cope. I cannot thank my consultant and his team enough for what they have done, they have changed my life forever.”

Xolair is being reported nationally as a much hoped for asthma drug with clinical trials said to have proved very successful with treatment preventing the allergic reaction which can trigger an attack.

A spokeswoman for Ipswich Hospital said they were delighted that Ms Vithlani's quality of life has been transformed.

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