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Taking a combination inhaler ‘as-needed’ could control asthma at one fifth the dose of regular therapy

January 19, 2020

Symptoms of asthma are caused by inflammation of the airways. This can be treated with a combination inhaler which contains medicine to reduce inflammation and open up the airways. It can be prescribed in two ways:

  1. A person takes the medication regularly, whether or not they have symptoms.
  2. A person takes extra doses of medication if their asthma symptoms begin to flare up

Although both ways use the same drug, we do not know which way has the greater effect.

We analysed data from two previous studies, focussing on the effects of each way of giving the combination inhaler on severe flares of asthma. We found that giving the combination inhaler ‘as needed’ had the same effect as giving it regularly, but at only about a fifth of the dose.

We also found that adding a combination inhaler to be taken as needed in addition to a regular combination inhaler had a greater effect than a higher dose of regular combination inhaler.

This is important because it will help guide the way this medication is used for people with asthma. Our study has also highlights the need for more research in this area as there were only two previous studies which we could analyse.

You can read the full Open Access paper, “Dose-response relationship of ICS/fast-onset LABA as reliever therapy in asthma”, in BMC Pulmonary Medicine here: http://bit.ly/dose-response-relationship