Friday, December 12, 2008

FDA Panel Urges Restrictions on 2 Asthma Drugs

Serevent, Foradil Inhalers Should Not Be Used Alone, Experts Urge. An expert panel said Thursday that the benefits of two inhaler drugs are not worth the risks and should no longer be used to treat asthma. The vote does not mean the two drugs, Serevent and Foradil, will be pulled from the market. Instead, the panel strongly urged the FDA to tell doctors not to prescribe the drugs to children or adults as a standalone asthma treatment. The drugs are also widely prescribed for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. That use was not affected by Thursday's deliberations of a 27-member FDA advisory committee.

At the same time, the experts backed two other popular asthma drugs, saying their benefits outweigh their risks. Serevent and Foradil are in a class of drugs known as beta-agonists. They help control and prevent airway spasms during asthma attacks. But the drugs have also been associated with a small but significant increase in the risk of hospitalization and death from asthma.