Pediatric Inhaled Corticosteroid Asthma Medication Features New Dose Counters

Armen Hareyan's picture
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GlaxoSmithKline announced availability of two formulations of an inhaled corticosteroid with a dose counter -- Flovent HFA 44 mcg and Flovent Diskus 50 mcg -- for children ages four and older with mild, persistent asthma.

The new dose counter feature on these products will provide parents and children with an important tool that can help ensure medicine is being taken regularly, which is essential to effectively controlling asthma symptoms. It can also track remaining doses to help eliminate the possibility of patients running out of asthma medication unexpectedly. Flovent HFA 44 mcg and Flovent Diskus 50 mcg are low-dose strengths of ICS, and Flovent HFA is the number one prescribed inhaled corticosteroid in the U.S.

A new product, Flovent Diskus 50 mcg, will be available later this month and will provide an additional option for patients as young as four years. Flovent Diskus, which features a dose counter, is a dry powder inhaler that does not require hand/breath coordination.

"Inhaled corticosteroids are a highly effective first-line maintenance therapy for children with asthma," said Dr. Andy Liu, associate professor of pediatric allergy and immunology at National Jewish Medical & Research Center in Denver, Colorado. "The introduction of a dose counter is an important step forward in asthma care, since consistent, daily ICS therapy is a cornerstone of asthma treatment in children."

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The National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the American Academy of Pediatrics agree that low-doses of ICS medications, such as Flovent HFA 44 mcg or Flovent Diskus 50 mcg are preferred treatments for mild, persistent asthma in children.

"Recently published results of a survey have shown that many asthma patients have no idea how much medicine is in their inhalers," said Nancy Sander, President of the Allergy and Asthma Network Mothers of Asthmatics. "Dose counters will provide patients, their parents and physicians with a much needed tool to better track medication usage, and will help limit the times when they are caught short without their medication."

Flovent's dose counter provides reliable dose tracking of ICS, which is a medication that helps prevent airway inflammation associated with asthma. Flovent HFA 44 mcg with dose counter is taken as two puffs twice daily. Flovent Diskus 50 mcg with dose counter is taken as one inhalation twice daily. Both are prescription medications.

Asthma is marked by shortness of breath, wheezing, chest tightness and cough and has two main components: inflammation -- or swelling inside the airways -- and constriction -- or tightening of the muscles that surround the airways. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, an estimated 6.5 million children under 18 years of age currently have asthma, making it one of the most common chronic disorders in children.

If left untreated, asthma can lead to frequent symptoms and attacks, activity limitation, and a decline in lung function. In fact, asthma is the third leading cause of hospitalization among children under the age of 15, and the leading cause of school absenteeism attributed to chronic conditions in 2004.

Flovent is indicated for the maintenance treatment of asthma as a preventive therapy in patients as young as four years of age. It is also indicated for patients requiring oral corticosteroid therapy for asthma. Flovent is an ICS that helps to reduce inflammation in the airways -- one of the main components of asthma. Flovent does not replace fast-acting inhalers for sudden symptoms. While adjusting to a switch from an oral steroid, like prednisone, to Flovent, patients may be less able to heal after surgery, infection or serious injury. Inhaled steroids, as well as poorly controlled asthma, may cause a reduction in growth velocity, and the long-term effect on final adult height is unknown.

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