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Warning Given on Use of 4 Popular Asthma Drugs, but Debate Remains
NY Times ^ | December 6, 2008 | GARDINER HARRIS

Posted on 12/09/2008 12:01:25 AM PST by neverdem

WASHINGTON — Two federal drug officials have concluded that asthma sufferers risk death if they continue to use four hugely popular asthma drugs — Advair, Symbicort, Serevent and Foradil. But the officials’ views are not universally shared within the government.

The two officials, who work in the safety division of the Food and Drug Administration, wrote in an assessment on the agency’s Web site on Friday that asthma sufferers of all ages should no longer take the medicines. A third drug-safety official concluded that Advair and Symbicort could be used by adults but that all four drugs should no longer be used by people age 17 and under.

Dr. Badrul A. Chowdhury, director of the division of pulmonary and allergy products at the agency, cautioned in his own assessment that the risk of death associated with the drugs was small and that banning their use “would be an extreme approach” that could lead asthmatics to rely on other risky medications.

Once unheard of, public disagreements among agency experts have occurred on occasion in recent years. The agency is convening a committee of experts on Wednesday and Thursday to sort out the disagreement, which has divided not only the F.D.A. but also clinicians and experts for more than a decade.

Sudden deaths among asthmatics still clutching their inhalers have fed the debate. But trying to determine whether the deaths were caused by patients’ breathing problems or the inhalers has proved difficult.

The stakes for drug makers are high. Advair sales last year were $6.9 billion and may approach $8 billion this year, making the medication GlaxoSmithKline’s biggest seller and one of the biggest-selling drugs in the world. Glaxo also sells Serevent, which had $538 million in sales last year. Symbicort is made by AstraZeneca and Foradil by Novartis.

Whatever the committee’s...

(Excerpt) Read more at ...

TOPICS: Culture/Society; Government; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: asthma; fda; health; medicine
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To: Treeless Branch

>I’ve taken Advair for two years and NEVER use my resuce inhaler anyore. In fact, do not even know where it is. It like I do not have asthma anymore. Had it since I was two years old. Used the rescue inhaler evey day for 20 years.<

Technically, those of us “lucky” enough to have asthma are never cured, but your control medications are working beautifully.

Effective control is measured in part by the fact you never have to use your rescue inhaler (c;

21 posted on 12/10/2008 9:52:50 AM PST by Darnright (A penny saved is a government oversight)
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To: wastedyears
How about going back to CFC powered pumps, so we’re not sucking in poison when we need to use it?

The issue is not the CFCs, but the drugs themselves. The idea would apparently be that these particular steroid treatments can have severe side effects.

22 posted on 12/10/2008 9:57:30 AM PST by r9etb
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To: r9etb

It’s not the drugs, it’s the propellant.

CFC “harms” the environment, but is okay for the user to use.

HFA doesn’t harm the environment, but it does the user.

23 posted on 12/10/2008 11:31:14 AM PST by wastedyears ("Life's tough... It's even tougher if you're stupid." - John Wayne)
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To: wastedyears
It’s not the drugs, it’s the propellant.

In this case, it's the drugs.

24 posted on 12/10/2008 11:33:39 AM PST by r9etb
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To: Gorzaloon
...a "weed" that has little purple and yellow blossoms that look exactly like minature eggplant blossoms.

My grandfather used to say that a weed was just a plant that no one had figured out a use for yet.

25 posted on 12/10/2008 11:38:59 AM PST by Knitebane (Happily Microsoft free since 1999.)
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To: ApplegateRanch
Thanks! Great info!

Curses on the environmentalist wackos taking meds away from asthmatics!

26 posted on 01/08/2009 4:44:48 PM PST by Dajjal (Obama is an Ericksonian NLP hypnotist.)
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