Drug Increases Asthma Attacks

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A new study found out that one class of drugs used in preventing   wheezing and shortness of breath in people with asthma also increase the kids’ risk of getting hospitalized for an asthma attack.

However, researchers believe that there is a possibility that when the drugs, called long-acting beta-agonists or LABAs,  used together with inhaled corticosteroid medications, that extra risk disappears.

According to Dr. Ann McMahon, who led the study, the new finding had confirmed their recommendation at the FDA that are already (on drug labels) for children and adolescents in using inhaled corticosteroids and LABAs together in one asthma product.

However, she noted that the research does not clearly suggest that inhaled corticosteroids take away all extra risk.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, seven million children in the U.S. suffer from asthma (about nine percent), and the rate has been increasing steadily in recent years.

Some kids and adults with asthma prescribed LABAs so that it could relax muscles around the airway thus preventing symptoms like wheezing.  However, there also evidence that long-term use of the drugs may slightly raise the risk of sudden grave, symptoms.

Aside from people suffering from asthma attacks, LABAs also used by people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder, or COPD.

The FDA report mix safety data from over 100 studies that include around 60,000 people with asthma. The original tests  done by companies, marketing LABAs.

The drugs consist of Merck’s Foradil and GlaxoSmithKline’s Serevent.

Compared to all patients who did not consume LABAs, adults and kids recommended the drugs were 27 percent would  probably end up in the hospital, or in rare cases die or need intubation, because of an asthma attack.

That extra risk was utmost in the youngest study participants. Kids between age four and 11 who were consuming a LABA were 67 percent more likely in having an asthma-related hospitalization than those who does not intake the medication.

That means that, over a one-year period, there would be another three cases of hospitalizations for every 100 kids that take LABAs.

According to the report published in Pediatrics, there are a small number of people of all ages who  habitually takes an inhaled corticosteroid together with a LABA did not appear to have any extra risk of hospitalization.

This is not the first finding that warns people of the extra hospitalization risk in people using LABAs alone.  Last year, after other research suggested that risk, the FDA started to require drugmakers in writing  on LABA labels that the drugs should never be user without using asthma control medication that includes an inhaled corticosteroid.