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Medco Study: Despite FDA Warnings, Nearly One-Third of Asthma Patients Still Treated with Long-Acting Beta Agonists Without Controller Medications, Increasing Their Risk for Complications and Hospitalizations
Date:5/11/2010

FRANKLIN LAKES, N.J., May 11 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Nearly one-third of asthma patients are taking long-acting beta agonists (LABAs) alone, and not in combination with other asthma control medications, despite years of warnings from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on the risk of worsening asthma symptoms and death associated with this practice.  This according to a new study from the Medco Research Institute™ and the Medco Pulmonary Therapeutic Resource Center® (TRC), presented at the 2010 Eastern Allergy Conference and coinciding with National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month.  

The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) asthma treatment guidelines recommend that LABAs should be used in combination with inhaled corticosteroids (ICS) or leukotriene modifiers for the treatment of asthma, and not used as monotherapy, due to the potential risks of asthma-related hospitalizations, intubations and death.  

Medco researchers found that 31 percent of patients who were prescribed either the LABA Severent™ or Foradil™ during 2009 were taking them as monotherapy and not in combination with other controller medications.  Those patients who received treatment from an allergist or pulmonologist were 43 percent less likely to be on LABA monotherapy than those who received treatment from a general practitioner, and the highest rate of LABA monotherapy use was seen in patients between the ages of 12 to 17.

"We've identified a gap in care that needs to be shared with the medical community in order to improve patient health and reduce the rate of preventable hospitalizations and emergency room visits," said Dr. Peter Juhn, president of the Medco Therapeutic Resource Centers.  "This study demonstrates tha
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SOURCE Medco Health Solutions, Inc.
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