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Respir Med. 2012 Dec;106 Suppl 1:S9-19. doi: 10.1016/S0954-6111(12)70005-7.

Inhaled corticosteroid and long-acting β2-agonist pharmacological profiles: effective asthma therapy in practice.

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  • 1University Hospital Basel, Clinic of Pneumology, Petersgraben 4, Basel 4031, Switzerland.


Fixed-dose combinations of inhaled corticosteroids (ICSs) and long-acting β2-agonists (LABAs) have been used to manage asthma for several years. They are the preferred therapy option for patients who do not achieve optimal control of their asthma with low-dose ICS monotherapy. In Europe, four ICS/LABA products are commercially available for asthma maintenance therapy (fluticasone propionate/formoterol fumarate, fluticasone propionate/salmeterol xinafoate, budesonide/formoterol fumarate and beclometasone dipropionate/formoterol fumarate), and other combinations are likely to be developed over the next few years (e.g. mometasone/formoterol fumarate, fluticasone furoate/vilanterol, mometasone/indacaterol). Data from randomized, controlled, clinical trials do not demonstrate a clear overall efficacy difference among ICS/LABA combinations approved for asthma therapy. Conversely, pharmacological data indicate that there may be certain advantages to using one ICS or LABA over another because of the specific pharmacodynamic and pharmacokinetic profiles associated with particular treatments. This review article summarizes the pharmacological characteristics oft he various ICSs and LABAs available for the treatment of asthma, including the potential for ICS and LABA synergy, and gives an insight into the rationale for the development of the latest ICS/LABA combination approved for asthma maintenance therapy.

Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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