Panel Critical of FDA's Asthma Drug Ruling
Experts Concerned About Limits on Long-Acting Asthma Drugs Such as Serevent and Foradil
WebMD News Archive
Asthma Attacks Down Since LABAs Introduced continued...
Robert Lemanske, Jr., MD, head of the division of pediatric allergy,
immunology, and rheumatology at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine
and Public Health in Madison, tells WebMD that he is concerned that the FDA
ruling will result in kids taking higher doses of inhaled steroids than
"As a pediatrician, anything I can do to limit doses of inhaled steroids,
which can cause problems with growth, is very very important," he says.
Studies show that by adding a LABA, you can lower the dose of inhaled
steroid by about 50%, Lemanske says.
Most importantly, the panel agrees, no one -- adults and kids alike --
should stop taking a LABA without consulting their doctor. That, they say, can
No one exactly knows when LABAs can be discontinued, Busse says, "But you
don’t just turn them off as soon as you achieve control."
Inhaled steroids, the mainstay of asthma treatment, reduce airway
inflammation and mucus production, leading to better asthma control, fewer
symptoms and flare-ups, and reduced hospitalizations. But they do not relieve
asthma symptoms you already have.
LABAs relax muscles in the lung's airways, improving a patient's ability to
breathe freely and reducing asthma symptoms.
LABAs are approved to treat both people with asthma or with chronic
obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The new recommendations
only apply to the use of LABAs in the treatment of asthma.
The panel says it hopes to perform further studies to better define if and
when LABAs can be discontinued. And the FDA is requiring LABA makers to perform
additional studies of the drugs' safety.