Asthma sufferers could be risking their lives by using drugs that treat the most severe forms of the disease, doctors warned yesterday.
Experts in respiratory care have called on the Europe’s drug watchdog, the European Medicines Agency, to warn patients of the dangers of long-acting beta-agonist (LABA) drugs, which are used to treat the more severe forms of asthma.
Dr Vassilis Vassiliou and Dr Christos Zipitis, from Addenbrooke's Hospital, said that the drugs, which include Serevent, salmeterol and formoterol, should not be used on their own, and were safe only when used in conjunction with a steroid inhaler. However, he said that more and more people were using them as a single treatment.
Dr Vassiliou said: “We are seeing an increasingly worrying trend where chronic asthma sufferers, mainly children, are being treated solely by LABA drugs.
“LABA on its own is not safe and this monotherapy is neither supported by current evidence nor encouraged by the current British Thoracic Society guidelines”.