A faster, more reliable treatment for hot tub lung soon may be available. Called Klearsen Respiratory Inhalation Therapy, it may be the first nonantibiotic therapy specifically to remedy the aquatic affliction mycobacterium avium complex, or MAC.

?Based on the dramatic results we?ve been getting, it?s hard to describe how important the therapy?s impact will be,? said Steven Frank, chief technical officer at Klearsen Corp. in Boulder, Colo.

Symptoms of MAC include shortness of breath, fatigue, wet cough, tightness in the chest and fever, according to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, N.Y. It is usually contracted in moist environments such as hot tubs and indoor swimming pools.

The new treatment is based on an antimicrobial compound, KC-287. The compound is a liquid agent that is turned into a fine mist and inhaled through a nebulizer, similar to a nasal spray. The therapy coats the inside of the patient?s lungs directly with the compound.

Lab results showed that KC-287 attenuated bacterial loads five to 10 times faster than antibiotics. Recent clinical trials also showed substantial improvement in recovery times vs. antibiotic protocols.

Current antibiotic treatment requires a 12- to 16-month regimen, Frank said. About one-third of all cases are never fully cured. Clinical trials by Klearsen showed symptoms were virtually eliminated within two months.

Population-based data from Houston and other metropolitan areas suggests that one in 100,000 contract MAC each year.

Though Klearsen?s therapy was patented several years ago, the treatment is still seeking FDA approval and may not be available to the public for a few years.