Asthma Medications And Potential Safety Risks

There are several popular medications used by those who suffer from asthma which have an increased market share presence. These include Serevent, Advair and Foradel. All these medications use inhalation powders containing long acting beta agonists, commonly known as “LABA.” Beginning as early as November of 2005, the Food and Drug Administration issued a public health advisory concerning these three drugs informing doctors and patients that the use of these products could increase one’s risk of developing severe asthma and/or possibly having a fatal reaction. This safety bulletin was updated in February of this year based on the FDA’s review of studies showing an increased risk of exacerbation of asthma related symptoms. The studies showed that “LABAs” used in the treatment of asthma could be safe but the use of which was nonetheless contraindicated without the use of an asthma controller medication such as an inhaled corticosteroid. In short, the clinical studies showed that if “LABAs” were used by themselves and not in conjunction with inhalers, long term patients using “LABAs” could be at increased risks of developing severe asthma and/or possibly having even more complications which could lead to death. Regrettably, a study issued in May of this year indicates that nearly one-third (1/3) of asthma patients continue to use “LABAs” alone and not in combination with other control medications. In short, despite years of warnings from the Food and Drug Administration going back to 2005, patients are continuing to use these products by themselves and not in conjunction with inhalers which increase the risk of severe asthma episodes and/or the possibility of death.
Some FDA Advisory Panel members have advocated that “LABA” products be withdrawn from the market because of their increased risks for children in particular. Whether a product liability case exists in this context, obviously is a factually specific inquiry but for the time being, those who suffer from asthma should their use of these medications closely and follow all of the safety advice provided by the Food and Drug Administration.

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