Advisory issued for Advair Diskus, other asthma medications

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Advisory issued for Advair Diskus, other asthma medications

A health advisory has been issued regarding Advair Diskus and other asthma medications.

What happened: On Nov. 18, 2005, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a public health advisory for three asthma medications, stating the medications may increase the risk of severe asthma episodes and possibly death if a severe asthma episode occurs. The three asthma medications included in the advisory are: Advair Diskus, Foradil Aerolizer and Serevent Diskus. All three medications are in a class of asthma drugs known as "long-acting beta-2-adrenergic agonists" or LABAs. These medicines are bronchodilator medicines that help relax the airways. In its advisory, the FDA said that although LABAs decrease how often asthma attacks occur, they may make the attacks that do occur more severe. FDA is asking the manufacturers of the three medications to update their product labels with the new health warning.

What does this mean to you?: If you experience asthma attacks and you're taking one of these medications, you'll need to talk with your doctor to determine the best course of action. Here are details of what you need to know about what the FDA is now recommending:

  • LABAs should be used only if other medicines don't control your asthma. They shouldn't be considered first-line treatments.
  • If you are using a LABA, don't stop using it until you've talked to your doctor.
  • Don't use LABA medications if your wheezing is increasing. Instead, call your doctor.
  • Remember that LABAs aren't intended to relieve sudden wheezing. They're for long-acting control. Have your short-acting asthma medication on hand to treat sudden wheezing.

Last Updated: 11/22/2005
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