GSK Supports Emphasis On Asthma Control

Armen Hareyan's picture

New asthma treatment guidelines urge healthcare professionals to first assess the severity of a patient's asthma to determine and administer initial treatment and then obtain regular assessments of the patient's level of asthma control. For the first time, ongoing assessment of control is recommended and the guidelines recognize use of validated questionnaires, like the Asthma Control Test (ACT) and the Childhood Asthma Control Test, to assess asthma control.

In addition, the evidence-based guidelines continue to recommend the combination of an inhaled corticosteroid (ICS) and long-acting beta-agonist (LABA) as a preferred therapy for a range of patients based on control and severity criteria. Advair Diskus(R) (fluticasone propionate and salmeterol inhalation powder) is an ICS/LABA combination product indicated for the long- term, twice-daily, maintenance treatment of asthma in patients 4 years of age and older.

The guidelines' emphasis on the importance of first obtaining and then maintaining asthma control, represent a significant change in guidance to physicians. Issued by the National Asthma Education and Prevention Program, a special committee of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the new guidelines represent a continued effort to reduce uncontrolled asthma in the U.S. -- an effort to which GSK is firmly committed.

"With the guidelines' new focus on asthma control we're hopeful that we will see fewer serious events from uncontrolled asthma," said Dr. Kathy Rickard, Vice President, Clinical, Respiratory Medicine Development Center, GlaxoSmithKline. "Asthma is a variable condition which makes it unpredictable, so assessing patients' asthma control on a scheduled basis can really help physicians keep patients on the right therapy."


Asthma is a serious, chronic lung disease which affects more than 20 million Americans. While deaths due to asthma have declined in the U.S. in recent years, there are still nearly two million emergency department visits and 500,000 hospitalizations due to asthma each year, an indication that many patients continue to need better asthma control. Frequent use of albuterol to treat symptoms may be a sign of uncontrolled asthma, which can put patients at risk for increased asthma symptoms, sudden attacks, hospitalization and even death.

Treatment recommendations in the new NIH guidelines are based on a comprehensive review of literature and are supported by evidence-based medicine. To determine optimal therapy for their asthma patients, the guidelines recommend physicians consider either a patient's level of asthma control if the patient is currently on a controller medicine, or consider a patient's level of symptom severity, if the patient has a new diagnosis of asthma or is using a short-acting beta-agonist (albuterol) alone.

"We're pleased that the guideline committee went through a review of all available data, and that the findings continue to support the importance of ICS/LABA combinations like Advair in the maintenance treatment of asthma," said Dr. Rickard. "GSK has been a leader in respiratory care for more than 30 years and offers medicines recommended in every step of the NIH asthma treatment guidelines."

Advair, available in both a dry-powder inhaler and a metered-dose inhaler for asthma patients 12 and older, is one of the most widely prescribed maintenance therapies, and combines two medications in one device to help prevent and control asthma symptoms. Asthma causes inflammation (swelling in the airways) and airway constriction (the tightening of muscles that surround the airways), and Advair contains both an inhaled corticosteroid, fluticasone propionate, to reduce inflammation; and an inhaled long-acting bronchodilator, salmeterol, to help prevent and reduce airway constriction. Advair is for people who still have symptoms on another asthma controller, or whose disease severity clearly warrants treatment with two maintenance therapies.

Advair Diskus is available by prescription only and is approved for the maintenance treatment of asthma in patients four years of age and older. Advair HFA (fluticasone propionate and salmeterol) Inhalation Aerosol is available by prescription only and is approved for the maintenance treatment of asthma in patients 12 years of age and older. Advair won't replace fast- acting inhalers for sudden symptoms and should not be taken more than twice a day. Advair contains salmeterol. In patients with asthma, medicines like salmeterol may increase the chance of asthma-related death. So Advair is not for people whose asthma is well controlled on another controller medicine.

People should speak to their doctor about the risks and benefits of treating their asthma with Advair. People taking Advair should not take another long-acting beta2-agonist for any reason. People taking Advair should see their doctor if their asthma does not improve or gets worse. People should tell their doctor if they have a heart condition or high blood pressure. Some people may experience increased blood pressure, heart rate, or changes in heart rhythm. Advair Diskus is for patients four years and older. For patients 4 to 11 years old, Advair Diskus 100/50 is for those who have asthma symptoms while on an inhaled corticosteroid.