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Friday, February 25, 2011

Spiriva may be good option for asthma

I thought it was interesting to learn that a new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, and reported by the AP here, showed that Spiriva worked as well as Serevent to treat hardluck asthma, and better than the technique of doubling the dose of inhaled corticosteroids.

When a patient is diagnosed with Hardluck Asthma, which means they have difficult to manage asthma despite being Gallant Asthmatics on all the best asthma medicines, the asthma guidelines recommend using a higher dose of steroids (often doubling the dose) or adding Serevent to the routine.

Usually Serevent and the inhaled corticosteroid Flutocinase are used via the Advair discuss, which offers three different doses of the steroid (100/50, 250/50, and 500/50). Most often the 250/50 dose is provided to patients, yet those who require more steroids may be prescribed the 500/50 dose.

Yet, according to AP:

Researchers found Spiriva worked better than a double steroid dose and was as effective as Serevent. When the study first began, patients on average had 77 asthma-free days a year - days in which they had no symptoms and did not have to use their rescue inhaler.

Doubling the steroid medicine gave patients an extra 19 asthma-free days; taking Spiriva gave them an additional 48 days with no symptoms, and taking Serevent gave them an extra 51 days.

Spiriva is a promising alternative asthma treatment and some doctors are already using it in people who don't respond to steroid medicine, but more study on drug safety is needed, Dr. Lewis Smith of Northwestern University wrote in an accompanying editorial.

I used to take Atropine as a kid, and later Atrovent. Yet for some reason this medicine was phased out of my asthma medicine routine. I do know some asthmatics on Spiriva, and my doctor did ask me if I wanted to try it.

I responded I didn't see a need at the present time. Yet it seems it might be justified trying Spiriva if other medicines do not control your asthma.

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