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Published on 4 March 2008

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New inhaler for asthma sufferers

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People with asthma who struggle due to a lack of puff could find that a new inhaler helps them to manage their condition.

The device, which is called Fostair, dispenses a combination of drugs in a form that is easily absorbed by the lungs, which means that it is not necessary to take a big breath for the inhaler to work.

Some asthma sufferers can find it difficult to take large breaths, which means they struggle to use standard inhalers properly.

Dr Brian O’Connor, consultant and senior lecturer in the department of respiratory medicine at King’s College London, said: “Up to 70% of UK asthma patients cannot use standard metered inhalers correctly.”

The device has already been approved by the Scottish Medicines Consortium which issues guidance on the use of new medicines in Scotland.

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE), which carries out the same function in England and Wales, is expected to make a final recommendation on asthma inhalers later this year.

Fostair combines two drugs, the steroid beclometasone dipropionate, and a beta 2 agonist, formoterol fumarate dihydrate.

Two phase III patient trials showed that the medicine was at least as effective as two existing inhaler combination treatments, Symbicort (budesonide and formoterol fumarate dihydrate) and Seretide (salmeterol/fluticasone propionate).

Copyright © PA Business 2008

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