When it comes to treating teens and adults with persistent asthma, simpler is better, according to an analysis led by University of Connecticut researchers.
Findings that appear in the Journal of the American Medical Association show that using a single corticosteroid and long-acting bronchodilator treatment for both daily asthma control and for rescue relief during sudden asthma attacks is more effective than taking separate medications for daily control and rescue.
Standard treatment guidelines for persistent asthma in the United States currently suggest using different medications for daily control and rescue relief. Patients use an inhaled corticosteroid, with or without a long-acting bronchodilator known as a long-acting beta-agonist or LABA, for daily asthma control. Patients usually carry a second inhaler containing a short-acting beta-agonist (albuterol) for rescue relief when they have symptoms of wheezing, coughing, or a full-blown asthma attack.
For patients 12 and older with persistent asthma, the researchers found that Single treatment for Maintenance and Reliever Therapy, also known as SMART, resulted in significantly fewer asthma attacks, hospitalizations, and emergency room visits, compared to patients following the current standard of separate medications for control and rescue.
Asthma is a chronic lung disease that inflames and narrows the airways. About 25 million people in the U.S. have asthma; 7 million of them are children. While some individuals may only experience asthma when they exercise or in certain weather conditions, those with persistent asthma struggle to control their symptoms every day.