Friday, February 6, 2009

Asthma meeting highlights 2009

I recently attended a conference on the efficacy and safety of inhaled corticosteroids and long acting bronchodilating agents (LABA). I am glad I did. This was worth time away from my office. The speakers were from universities around the country like Duke, Harvard, National Jewish Hospital in Denver. The highlights are below.

1. There should be no more controversy about LABAs. They are safe when used properly. End of discussion!!

2. GlaxoSmithKline will sell a version of Ventolin HFA at Walmart exclusively under their brand name of ReliOn inhalers for $9. I have confirmed this on Walmart's website. More at this posting.

3. There is no proof that patients compliance with these combination asthma meds are higher when the LABA used has a milder more rapid onset of onset. I place this as a sales or advertising ploy. What we want is for the manufacturers to do head-to-head trials to determine which is better. Sadly, this will never occur, because of the cost and the stakes being too high.

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