Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Disputed asthma drugs have safe record in British Columbia

Date:
November 26, 2013
Source:
University of British Columbia
Summary:
A popular combination asthma therapy dogged by safety concerns has not harmed British Columbians and should remain in use, according to researchers. The study found no significant difference in hospitalization rates for patients who took inhaled corticosteroids alone and those who used the combination therapy.

A popular combination asthma therapy dogged by safety concerns has not harmed British Columbians and should remain in use, according to researchers at the University of British Columbia and Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute.

Related Articles


The therapy combines an inhaled corticosteroid to reduce swelling in the airways with "long-acting beta agonists" (LABAs) to ease breathing and reduce the risk of a severe asthma attack. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), reacting to claims that LABAs might mask conditions that leave patients vulnerable to more severe or even fatal asthma attacks, ordered the drugs' makers to conduct large-scale safety trials; with results not expected for five years, the FDA urges that LABAs be discontinued once a person's asthma is under control.

The UBC-Vancouver Coastal Health study examined hospitalization rates for patients who took inhaled corticosteroids alone and those who used the combination therapy, covering 46,000 people over 15 years. Although the hospitalization rate for combination therapy users was 14 per cent higher than those who took corticosteroids alone, that difference was not statistically significant.

"By including so many patients and over such a long period, we have provided unparalleled evidence on the safety of the combination therapy," said lead author Mohsen Sadatsafavi, an assistant professor of health economics in the Division of Respiratory Medicine and a scientist at the Centre for Clinical Epidemiology and Evaluation. "Our findings should reassure patients, doctors and policy-makers about the safety of combination therapies as we wait for the results of the trials."

This study should prompt a re-examination of the FDA's warning to restrict the use of combination therapy, said senior author Dr. Mark FitzGerald, Head of the Division of Respiratory Medicine of UBC and Vancouver General Hospital. "Patients who get relief from the combination therapy should continue using it without fear," he said.

Although corticosteroids and LABAs can be taken as two separate inhalers, most patients use a version that includes both drugs in one dose. Advair, made by GlaxoSmithKline PLC, is the fourth-highest selling drug in the world, with 2012 global sales of $4.6 billion (U.S.). Another combination therapy, Symbicort, made by AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals, had 2012 global sales of $1.2 billion (U.S.). Merck & Co. has also introduced its own formulation, Zenhale.

The study confirmed that LABAs, when used without inhaled corticosteroids, do indeed pose a risk. Patients who used LABAs exclusively had an 86 per cent increased rate of hospitalization compared to those who didn't use anything at all. However, the risk of hospitalization decreased in direct proportion to the increased use of corticosteroids.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of British Columbia. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of British Columbia. "Disputed asthma drugs have safe record in British Columbia." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 November 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131126191630.htm>.
University of British Columbia. (2013, November 26). Disputed asthma drugs have safe record in British Columbia. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131126191630.htm
University of British Columbia. "Disputed asthma drugs have safe record in British Columbia." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131126191630.htm (accessed November 25, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

From Popcorn To Vending Snacks: FDA Ups Calorie Count Rules

From Popcorn To Vending Snacks: FDA Ups Calorie Count Rules

Newsy (Nov. 25, 2014) — The US FDA is announcing new calorie rules on Tuesday that will require everywhere from theaters to vending machines to include calorie counts. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Daily Serving Of Yogurt Could Reduce Risk Of Type 2 Diabetes

Daily Serving Of Yogurt Could Reduce Risk Of Type 2 Diabetes

Newsy (Nov. 25, 2014) — Need another reason to eat yogurt every day? Researchers now say it could reduce a person's risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Madagascar Working to Contain Plague Outbreak

Madagascar Working to Contain Plague Outbreak

AFP (Nov. 24, 2014) — Madagascar said Monday it is trying to contain an outbreak of plague -- similar to the Black Death that swept Medieval Europe -- that has killed 40 people and is spreading to the capital Antananarivo. Duration: 00:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Are Female Bosses More Likely To Be Depressed?

Are Female Bosses More Likely To Be Depressed?

Newsy (Nov. 24, 2014) — A new study links greater authority with increased depressive symptoms among women in the workplace. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins