FDA Advises Against Risky Asthma Drugs

A Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advisory committee says long-acting beta-2 agonist (LABA) inhalers used alone are too risky for children younger than 18. The decision is still out on whether the benefits outweigh the risks for adults who use an LABA drug for daily treatment of asthma.

Packaging for LABA drugs already includes a warning, but this may soon not be enough for the FDA.

The Pulmonary-Allergy Drugs Advisory committee’s recommendation is based on a study that shows LABAs used alone, as Serevent (salmeterol) and Foradil (formoterol), could worsen asthma, and in rare cases even cause death. LABA drugs Advair and Symbicort contain a second drug that reduces lung inflammation, but some say these drugs are dangerous as well.

Read the story or listen to it at the NPR news Web site.

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