NEW ORLEANS — A new study is looking for volunteers in the New Orleans area to test out a new asthma medication.

Twenty-six million people in the US have asthma and the environment in Louisiana can make life hard on those with the condition.

Tiffany has suffered from asthma since she was a child.

"Loss of breath. Sometime just even as an adult. It's hard sometimes, like when the seasons change. So, it's a big problem," said Tiffany, who is a participant in a clinical trial.

She has many triggers, cats, grass, weather changes, summer heat, the cold, so her rescue inhaler never leaves her side.

"It mainly kicked up after Hurricane Katrina, so I really have some major problems after that," she said.

When Tiffany heard about the free study, to test a new corticosteroid to prevent the inflammation that triggers constriction of the airways, she decided to join.

"I'm just hoping that the medicine that I'm doing the study for can help me,” she said.

"Unfortunately here, we live in an environmental heaven for asthma so to speak, because there are too many allergens like pollen, mold, adult mites, you name it," explained Dr. Ramon Vargas, a clinical pharmacologist who is the principal investigator for the study going on at The New Orleans Center for Clinical Research.

According to Dr. Vargas, not only does the southeast Louisiana area have more asthma triggers, but African-Americans have a higher incidence of asthma.

He says blood work, exams and the medication are free for patients who qualify. That's adults 18-to-70 years old who have had asthma for at least a year.

"If it is approved, obviously it's going to be cheaper and therefore the patient will benefit from that," Dr. Vargas said.

There's a diary to keep and the study only lasts a month.

If you have asthma and want to see if you qualify for the free study call The New Orleans Center for Clinical Research at 504-821-CARE.

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