WASHINGTON - The US government, taking steps to curb use of some long-acting asthma drugs used by millions, issued safety restrictions yesterday to lower a life-threatening risk.
The Food and Drug Administration’s warnings cover the drugs Advair, Symbicort, Foradil, and Serevent. The FDA said they should be used only by asthmatics who cannot control their lung disease with other medications - and even then only for the shortest time possible.
Nor should these drugs, which contain an ingredient called long-acting beta agonist, be used without simultaneous use of a different asthma-controlling medication, such as an inhaled corticosteroid, the FDA said.
Long-acting beta agonists relax muscles around stressed airways. While they’re very helpful for some patients, the way these drugs work also sometimes masks inflammation that is building in the airways.