BETTER-B: new study wants to test treatment for breathlessness in COPD and ILD patients

A study called BETTER-B, led by Professor Irene Higginson, wants to test a new treatment. This is a medicine called mirtazapine. Mirtazapine is an antidepressant that has been used for many years. In small regular doses it may help to relieve severe breathlessness in people who are not depressed.

Breathlessness affects people with chronic obstructive pulmonary (COPD) or interstitial lung disease (ILD), often even after the underlying causes are treated. There are very few treatments for this symptom.

The study team plan to recruit 324 people across the UK, Germany, Ireland, Italy and Poland. They will compare treatment with either mirtazapine or a placebo (dummy drug) tablet.

If you meet the following criteria, you may be eligible to take part:

  • You have COPD or ILD (including chronic fibrotic lung disease following SARS-CoV-2 infection)
  • You experience breathlessness and need to stop for breath after walking around 100m or after few minutes or while dressing/undressing
  • You are over 18 years old
  • You are receiving the recommended treatment for your condition
  • The management of your condition has not changed in the last 2 weeks

If you meet the criteria above and are interested in taking part in the study please contact: . They will discuss the study with you in more detail and confirm whether you are eligible. If you would like more information about the study and resources for breathlessness, please visit the project website:

BETTER-B is funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No.  825319.