Asthma Treatments Work Equally Well
Asthma treatments inhalers and pills work equally well, according to new research by British scientists.
The New England Journal of Medicine published the study, which saw researchers track 650 patients with chronic asthma for two years. They found that rarely-prescribed tablets produced by drugmakers like AstraZeneca and Merck (called leukotriene receptor antagonists or LTRAs) managed the disease just as well as steroid inhalers. Inhalers are more frequently used to manage asthma, a chronic condition that affects up to 25 million Americans.
The pills were easier to use and enabled patients to stick to their prescribed medication routine with more ease--adherence to treatment was "vastly improved--by as much as 60 percent" when patients used the once-a-day LTRA pills, said study leader David Price at University of Aberdeen and University of East Anglia.
Stanley Musgrave of the University of East Anglia, who also worked on the study, called it a "pragmatic trial," designed to assess the effectiveness of the treatments under real life conditions where patients may have other health problems and may sometimes forget their medication routine.
"Ahderence is really crucial in chronic illness therapy," he said in an interview. "LTRAs are easy to use and can help patients control their asthma effectively and improve their quality of life."