A drug for asthma that had been considered as less effective could be just as powerful as an steroid inhaler, declares a new study.
Leukotriene receptor antagonists(LTRAs), the asthma pills, have been used only as the third or fourth option in asthma treatment. But researchers at the Universities of East Anglia and Aberdeen have reported that a study of over two years, involving 650 chronic asthma patients, has revealed that the pills are a better way to deal with the problem. Also, patients seem to follow their treatment regimen more strictly when they are given pills.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration had in 2009 asked the makers of LTRA sold under the brand names Accolate by AstraZeneca and Singulair by Merck, to add a warning to drug labels because of serious behavioral side effects, including suicidal thoughts and depression in some people taking the medications.
On the other hand, the risks of inhaled steroids for asthma include hoarseness, thrush, sore throat, and possibly reduced bone density.
Dr. Jennifer Appleyard, chief of allergy and immunology at St. John Hospital and Medical Center in Detroit commented, "It confirms that there are various options, and there's not one answer for everyone."
The study's lead author, Professor David Price and his research team at the University of Aberdeen and the University of East Anglia hope that doctors and healthcare professionals would consider the pills as an added option in their treatment plans.