GSK Supports Emphasis on Asthma Control and Use of Quick Assessment Tools in New Asthma Treatment Guidelines

Thursday, August 30, 2007 General News
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RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C., Aug. 29 New asthma treatmentguidelines issued today urge healthcare professionals to first assess theseverity of a patient's asthma to determine and administer initial treatmentand then obtain regular assessments of the patient's level of asthma control.For the first time, ongoing assessment of control is recommended and theguidelines recognize use of validated questionnaires, like the Asthma ControlTest (ACT) and the Childhood Asthma Control Test, to assess asthma control.

In addition, the evidence-based guidelines continue to recommend thecombination of an inhaled corticosteroid (ICS) and long-acting beta-agonist(LABA) as a preferred therapy for a range of patients based on control andseverity criteria. Advair Diskus(R) (fluticasone propionate and salmeterolinhalation powder) is an ICS/LABA combination product indicated for the long-term, twice-daily, maintenance treatment of asthma in patients 4 years of ageand older.

The guidelines' emphasis on the importance of first obtaining and thenmaintaining asthma control, represent a significant change in guidance tophysicians. Issued by the National Asthma Education and Prevention Program, aspecial committee of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the newguidelines represent a continued effort to reduce uncontrolled asthma in theU.S. -- an effort to which GSK is firmly committed.

"With the guidelines' new focus on asthma control we're hopeful that wewill see fewer serious events from uncontrolled asthma," said Dr. KathyRickard, Vice President, Clinical, Respiratory Medicine Development Center,GlaxoSmithKline. "Asthma is a variable condition which makes it unpredictable,so assessing patients' asthma control on a scheduled basis can really helpphysicians keep patients on the right therapy."

Asthma is a serious, chronic lung disease which affects more than 20million Americans. While deaths due to asthma have declined in the U.S. inrecent years, there are still nearly two million emergency department visitsand 500,000 hospitalizations due to asthma each year, an indication that manypatients continue to need better asthma control. Frequent use of albuterol totreat symptoms may be a sign of uncontrolled asthma, which can put patients atrisk for increased asthma symptoms, sudden attacks, hospitalization and evendeath.

Treatment recommendations in the new NIH guidelines are based on acomprehensive review of literature and are supported by evidence-basedmedicine. To determine optimal therapy for their asthma patients, theguidelines recommend physicians consider either a patient's level of asthmacontrol if the patient is currently on a controller medicine, or consider apatient's level of symptom severity, if the patient has a new diagnosis ofasthma or is using a short-acting beta-agonist (albuterol) alone.

"We're pleased that the guideline committee went through a review of allavailable data, and that the findings continue to support the importance ofICS/LABA combinations like Advair in the maintenance treatment of asthma,"said Dr. Rickard. "GSK has been a leader in respiratory care for more than 30years and offers medicines recommended in every step of the NIH asthmatreatment guidelines."

Advair, available in both a dry-powder inhaler and a metered-dose inhalerfor asthma patients 12 and older, is one of the most widely prescribedmaintenance therapies, and combines two medications in one device to helpprevent and control asthma symptoms. Asthma causes inflammation (swelling inthe airways) and airway constriction (the tightening of muscles that surroundthe airways), and Advair contains both an inhaled corticosteroid, fluticasonepropionate, to reduce inflammation; and an inhaled long-acting bronchodilator,salmeterol, to help prevent and reduce airway constriction. Advair is forpeople who still have symptoms on another asthma controll

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