Chronic breathlessness is a distressing and highly prevalent symptom of advanced chronic respiratory diseases. It is associated with social isolation, high healthcare costs and poor prognosis. Currently, there are few effective drug treatments thus, chronic breathlessness represents a huge unmet need.
At the core of the Better Treatments for Refractory Breathlessness project (BETTER-B) is an international, multicentre, randomised controlled trial testing the effectiveness of mirtazapine, an established antidepressant, in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and interstitial lung disease (ILD).
The BETTER-B programme of work also includes an online survey of physicians to understand current clinical management of breathlessness, the production of European wide guidance on the management of breathlessness in palliative and end of life care, and qualitative interviews with trial participants (patients and caregivers) to further understand their experiences.