Patients with mild persistent asthma may be able to cut down meds

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted June 4, 2007

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A pair of studies published in the May 17 New England Journal of Medicine suggest ways to streamline treatment for mild persistent asthma.

One, from a team assembled by the American Lung Assn., found that patients who switched from twice-daily inhaled fluticasone to once-daily fluticasone plus salmeterol did not have an increased risk of exacerbations. Changing to montelukast, which is in pill form, did result in a reduction in asthma control, although this treatment was effective for many. The authors said this study may allow patients to make choices about treatment that are easier to adhere to.

"This is good news for patients with mild, persistent asthma because it gives them more choices about how to manage their disease," said Stephen P. Peters, MD, PhD, lead author and a professor of pediatrics and internal medicine-pulmonary at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, N.C.

Another study from researchers in Italy found that taking inhaled beclomethasone and albuterol in response to symptoms was as effective as inhaling beclomethasone twice daily.

Note: This item originally appeared at

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