A recent study by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has revealed that one class of drugs used to prevent asthma attacks and shortness of breath can actually increase the risk of being hospitalized for children.
Known as long-acting beta-agonists or LABAs the drugs can cause undue risks however when used with inhaled corticosteroid medications researchers say those extra risks disappear.
According to Dr. Ann McMahon, the study’s lead researcher:
“These studies confirm our recommendations at the FDA that are already (on drug labels) for children and adolescents to use inhaled corticosteroids and LABAs together in one asthma product.”
Dr. McMahon did state that the research has left her skeptical and more studies will need to be conducted.
LABAs are used to relax muscles around the airway, thus preventing symptoms such as weezing however research has shown that over time an increased risk in sudden symptoms have been witnessed.
The FDA’s findings came from 100 studies that examined 60,000 people with asthma however the original studies most often came from companys that market LABAs including Merck’s Foradil and GlaxoSmithKline’s Serevent.
According to Fox News:
Compared to all patients who didn’t take LABAs, adults and kids who were prescribed the drugs were 27 percent more likely to end up in the hospital, or in rare cases die or require intubation, because of an asthma attack.
That extra risk was greatest in the youngest study participants. Kids between age four and 11 who were taking a LABA were 67 percent more likely to have an asthma-related hospitalization than those who weren’t getting the medication.
That means that over a one-year period, there would be an extra three hospitalizations for every 100 kids taking LABAs.
The study also showed that some people using both drugs showed no side effects at all.
It should be noted that several products combine an LABA with corticosteroid such as AstraZeneca’s Symbicort and GlaxoSmithKline’s Advair.
More researcher has been promised to determine the exact side effects of the drugs.