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Asthma Drug Combo Could Be Dangerous

Long-Acting Beta Agonist and Inhaled Steroid Sometimes Have Negative Side Effects

Follow Patients Closely

In both cases highlighted by Weinberger and Abu-Hasan, treatment with the long-acting drug appeared to render quick-relief therapy ineffective. But GlaxoSmithKline spokeswoman Mary Anne Rhyne tells WebMD that the clinical evidence shows that the vast majority of patients on a long-acting beta agonist remain responsive to treatment with albuterol.

"There will always be some patients who are not responsive to any medicines, but it is very difficult to draw conclusion from the brief case reports outlined in Dr. Weinberger's letter," she says.

Rhyne agrees that patients on long-acting bronchodilators should be monitored very closely by their doctors, as should patients on any therapy for moderate to severe asthma.

"Advair has been proven safe and effective for millions of patients," she says. "But it is not right for everyone. Asthma can be a deadly disease and severe problems can come on quite quickly, so it is important that patients tell their physicians about symptoms and their responses to medication."

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