Don't Fret About Taking Advair

Long acting β agonists and inhaled corticosteroids were shown to be as safe

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) No matter how effective a drug may be, if it is not safe it cannot be used. A new study has found out how safe a common asthma treatment is.

In a new study, a combined treatment of Long-acting β-agonists (LABAs) and inhaled corticosteroids (ICS) were shown to be as safe as inhaled corticosteroids. The combined LABAs/ICS therapy was proven to be as effective or more effective in treating asthma as inhaled corticosteroids alone.

"Talk to your doctor about which asthma treatment is right for you."

The new study was led by Karen E. Wells, M.P.H, from the Department of Public Health Sciences, Henry Ford Health System in Detroit and the Department of Family Medicine and Public Health Sciences at Wayne State University.

To study the effectiveness and safety of ICS/LABAs treatment, 1,828 asthma patients were given either a daily treatment of ICS or ICS/LABAs. Researchers studied the relationship between either ICS or ICS/LABAs treatment and asthma exacerbations such as hospitalization and emergency room visits.

ICS is a common asthma treatment. It acts as an anti-inflammatory treatment to help manage asthma symptoms. Popular forms of ICS include Flovent and Pulmicort.

ICS/LABAs, such as Advair or Symbicort, provide long-term relief of asthma. ICS/LABAs take longer to work but offer up to 12 hours of asthma control. Side effects for ICS/LABAs include an increased risk of asthma-related death.  

Out of the 1,828 asthma patients, 46 percent were given ICS and 54 percent were given the ICS/LABAs treatment.

The ICS/LABAs was shown to be just as effective, if not more so, in treating asthma exacerbations than ICS alone. The positive effect of ICS/LABAs was also shown in members of higher risk sub groups, such as African-Americans.

Asthma patients should not worry about using a ICS/LABAs treatment. Using ICS/LABAs is just as good as using an ICS and gives patients another option in treating their asthma. An ICS/LABAs treatment can provide longer relief for asthma patients but may be more expensive because there is no generic equivalent.

Funding was provided by grants from the Fund for Henry Ford Hospital, the American Asthma Foundation, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, National Institutes of Health. Contributing author L. Keoki Williams, M.D., M.P.H, has received research support from the National Institutes of Health (National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, and National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases) and the American Asthma Foundation. No other conflicts were reported

This study was published in the January edition of The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
January 31, 2012
Last Updated:
February 1, 2012