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Deciphering Asthma Medication

Deciphering Asthma Medication

In this NBC4 videoDr. Jackie Eghrari-Sabet, an allergy doctor at Family Allergy & Asthma Care with offices in Gaithersburg, Olney, and Frederick, MD, helps decipher the guidelines behind asthma medication.

With spring blooming all around us, season of sneezing and wheezing is about to begin, and many asthma sufferers will be reaching for those inhalers.

But this year, new labeling on some asthma meds could cause confusion for asthma patients and doctors.

For some time, the labels on long-acting beta agonists such as Serevent or Foradil, also known as LABAs, have warned patients not to take those meds without also taking a corticosteroid to treat inflammation. What’s new is that the labels on combination corticosteroid-LABA meds, drugs like Advair and Symbicort, will now say you should stop taking those meds once your asthma is under control.

The reason there’s confusion?

”We’ve never done this before in treating any disease … to get the disease under control then stop the medication that got you under control,” said Dr. Jackie Eghrari-Sabet, of Family Allergy & Asthma Care in Gaithersburg, Md.

The concern over these long-acting drugs is that clinical trials have shown they are linked to higher risks of a severe worsening of symptoms that can lead to hospitalization or death in some asthma patients. Those trial results and the meaning of the results are still under debate.

Meanwhile, to clear up any confusion about the use of these meds, Dr. Jackie says see your doctor.

“What patients should do is go talk to your doctor and get a pulmonary function test (PFT), find out how your asthma is doing, figure out what medication you should be on and if you can step down in strength from your medication while continuing your treatment,” Dr. Jackie said.

The big concern with treating asthma is that many people feel better then stop taking their meds.

“People need to stay on their meds to stay well,” Dr. Jackie said.

Article by Pat Lawson Muse.

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