Medical Food For Asthma

Doctor examining medical food in jar
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Have you ever heard of a medical food for asthma?

Can we do something other than increase or add more medicine if our asthma is not optimally controlled?

Some people will try a whole host of complementary or alternative treatments such as:

Others will likely see their asthma doctor and have their asthma action plan altered in some way.

A medical food is a possible option for adjunctive treatment.

This means that it will not be used as the first or only treatment for your child’s asthma, but along with your child’s current asthma treatment since it is not optimally controlled.

What is a Medical Food

A medical food, as defined by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in the Orphan Drug Act, is “a food which is formulated to be consumed or administered enterally under the supervision of a physician and which is intended for the specific dietary management of a disease or condition for which distinctive nutritional requirements, based on recognized scientific principles, are established by medical evaluation.”

What Is Lunglaid?

Lunglaid is a medical food that has similar indications as the drug Singulair and targets leukotriene homeostasis. The medical food addresses a nutritional deficiency of the fatty acids gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) and eicosapentaenoic acid that decrease leukotriene synthesis.

Supplementation with these two components has been associated with decreased inflammation and improvement in quality of life and decreased rescue inhaler use in some studies.

What Are The Advantages of a Medical Food?

There are a number of distinct advantages a medical food may have over a pharmaceutical agent:

  • Medical foods may be responsible for significantly fewer side effects compared to regular medication use.
  • Patient preference for a medical food and possible enhanced compliance.
  • Provide nutrients that the current diet is lacking and may be difficult to achieve through a regular diet.

Who Is An Ideal Lunglaid Patient

According to Dr. Julianne Lindemann, Senior Scientific Advisor at PanTheryx, the ideal patient for treatment with Lunglaid is one with mild to moderate, persistent asthma that is not well-controlled by short-acting B2-agonist, and who does not want to use inhaled corticosteroids (ICS). Other good candidates are those whose mild to moderate persistent asthma is not well-controlled by low or moderate dose ICS and who do not wish to step up the ICS dose.

Who Is Less Likely To Benefit From Lunglaid

According to Lindemann, Lunglaid has not been tested in patients with either intermittent asthma or severe asthma, so it is not known whether such patients would be likely to benefit from the product or not.

Similarly, patients with only exercise-induced asthma have not been evaluated for their response to the product. Finally, although this has not been tested, if a patient has been treated with a leukotriene receptor antagonist without showing improvement, they may be less likely to benefit from Lunglaid.

More from the interview with Dr. Julianne Lindemann.

What Is Your Biggest Asthma Problem?

We want to help you get control of your asthma. I want to hear about your biggest asthma problem so that we can try to help you develop a solution or better understand how to help.
 You are probably not the only one with the problem. Take a few minutes describing your problem so we can develop a solution together.


  1. Medical Foods Guidance Documents & Regulatory Information. Draft Guidance for Industry: Frequently Asked Questions About Medical Foods; Second Edition. Accessed on August 15, 2015.
  2. Lunglaid Website. Reduce Leukotrienes. Manage Asthma. Accessed on August 15, 2015.
  3. Marc E. Surette, Dean Stull and Julianne Lindemann. The impact of a medical food containing gammanolenic and eicosapentaenoic acids on asthma management and the quality of life of adult asthma patients. Current Medical Research and Opinions. 24(2):559–567; 2008.
  4. Email interview with Julianne Lindemann, Senior Scientific Advisor at PanTheryx.

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