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AANMA Provides Commentary to FDA Advisory Committees Reviewing Benefit-Risk Assessment of 12 Hour Bronchodilators
Date:12/11/2008

FAIRFAX, Va., Dec. 11 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Nancy Sander, president and founder of Allergy & Asthma Network Mothers of Asthmatics (AANMA) today urged committee members to preserve patient access to all forms of 12-hour bronchodilators at a joint meeting of the Pulmonary-Allergy Drugs Advisory Committee, Drug Safety and Risk Management Advisory Committee and Pediatric Advisory Committee of the Food and Drug Administration held in Rockville, MD.

Sander also requested the committee use caution in their statements about this issue by avoiding confusing terms such as "rescue" and "controller" to describe affected asthma medications. Patients and prescribers should know these facts:

  • 12-hour bronchodilators are an important add-on therapy to consider when symptoms persist despite use of inhaled corticosteroids.
  • 12-hour bronchodilators used alone or in combination with inhaled corticosteroids does not negate the need to determine the cause of symptoms and eliminate exposures to known allergens and irritants.
  • When using 12-hour bronchodilators, patients should also use inhaled albuterol or inhaled levalbuterol should symptoms occur. The patient should notify the prescribing physician in such circumstances to determine why symptoms are worsening and what actions to take.
  • Albuterol and levalbuterol are frequently and incorrectly called "rescue" medications. They should be used at the first hint of symptoms, not as a last resort as the name implies. 12-hour bronchodilators/inhaled corticosteroids are often and incorrectly called "controller" medications. However, those medications are not indicated to "control" acute symptoms as so many patients incorrectly believe.
  • Making mistakes about when and how to use these two medications can be deadly.

"When prescribed and used as part of a comprehensive treatment plan, 12-hour bronchodilators have given back to patients the ability to work, climb stairs, attend school, sleep through the night, and compete in sports - without symptoms - things most others take for granted," said Sander. "Until policies are in place to ensure that all patients diagnosed with asthma receive care according to the National Asthma Education Prevention Program (NAEPP) guidelines we will continue to see avoidable distress and deaths due to asthma. Patients need asthma care consistent with NAEPP guidelines and patient-centered care free of confusing jargon."

For more information please visit AANMA's Web site at www.breatherville.org. Patients seeking information can also call AANMA's Patient Support Center at 800.315.8056.

About AANMA

Founded in 1985, Allergy & Asthma Network Mothers of Asthmatics is the leading national nonprofit family organization dedicated to eliminating suffering and death due to asthma, allergies and related conditions. AANMA's core areas of expertise are education, advocacy and outreach. Call 800.878.4403 or visit www.breatherville.org.


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SOURCE Allergy & Asthma Network Mothers of Asthmatics
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