HW: Doctor cautions asthmatics about making changes

A local asthma and allergist specialist is concerned that misinformation may cause some asthma patients to stop taking their medications.

Earlier this month, an advisory board to the Food and Drug Administration recommended that Serevent and Foradil no longer be prescribed to asthmatics.

Both are long-acting bronchial dilators. Research has shown that either drug is linked to an increased risk in asthma-related deaths and hospitalizations, said Dr. Williams Scott, with the Allergy & Asthma Clinic of Western Colorado. Scott said he will stop prescribing Serevent and Foradil but is “concerned” asthmatics on different medications will be confused and stop taking their prescriptions.

Specifically, Scott does not want people taking Advair or Symbicort to stop. He estimates nearly two-thirds of his patients take either drug.

Advair and Symbicort contain long-acting bronchial dilators, but they also contain inhaled steroids.

The combination of the inhaled steroids and the long-acting bronchial dilators are effective treatments for moderate to severe asthma, Scott said.

Research has shown the combination drugs have decreased the risk of asthma-related deaths and hospitalizations, he said.

Inhaled steroids help lessen the inflammation in the bronchial tubes.

“I don’t want people to stop taking (Advair and Symbicort),” Scott said. “The FDA doesn’t want you to stop. Nobody wants you to stop.”

More than 22 million Americans have asthma, according to the American Lung Association. The chronic condition affects a person’s airwaves, making breathing difficult.

The FDA has not ruled on the relabeling of Serevent and Foradil, but Scott said the FDA often follows the suggestion of its advisory board.

Serevent and Foradil likely will still be prescribed to patients suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases such as emphysema.


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