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Thursday 01 February 2001

Advair: combination treatment with fluticasone propionate/salmeterol in the treatment of asthma.

By: Nelson HS.

J Allergy Clin Immunol 2001 Feb;107(2):398-416

Several classes of medications are available for the treatment of asthma, and often they must be taken concurrently to achieve asthma control. Based on the understanding of asthma as an inflammatory disease, the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute guidelines provide a stepwise approach to pharmacologic therapy. Corticosteroid therapy, principally inhaled corticosteroid (ICS) therapy, is considered the most effective anti-inflammatory treatment. In cases of moderate-to-severe persistent asthma, the addition of a second long-term control medication to ICS therapy is one recommended treatment option. A combination-product inhaler (Advair, Seretide) was developed to treat both the inflammatory and bronchoconstrictive components of asthma by delivering a dose of the ICS, fluticasone propionate, and a dose of the long-acting beta2-adrenergic (LABA) bronchodilator, salmeterol. The Advair Diskus is available in 3 strengths of fluticasone propionate (100, 250, and 500 microg) and a fixed dose (50 microg) of salmeterol. Combination treatment with both ICS and LABA provides greater asthma control than increasing the ICS dose alone, while at the same time reducing the frequency and perhaps the severity of exacerbations. Furthermore, salmeterol added to ICS therapy provides superior asthma control compared with the addition of leukotriene modifiers or theophylline. The superior control is likely a consequence of the complementary actions of the drugs when taken together, including the activation of the glucocorticoid receptor by salmeterol. By combining anti-inflammatory treatment with a long-acting beta2-agonist in a single inhaler (1 inhalation twice daily), physicians can provide coverage for both the inflammatory and bronchoconstrictive aspects of asthma without introducing any new or unexpected adverse consequences. The most common drug-related adverse events were those known to be attributable to the constituent medications (ICS therapy and/or LABA therapy). Although the benefits of combined ICS plus LABA therapy can be achieved with separate inhalers, the convenience of the combination product may improve patient adherence and may therefore reduce the morbidity of asthma.

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