The New York Times reports: A panel of lung experts is being convened today to advise the government on whether three popular asthma drugs should stay on the market or be withdrawn because of safety concerns.
The drugs are Advair and Serevent, made by GlaxoSmithKline, and Foradil, made by Novartis and sold in the United States by Schering Plough. Advair and Serevent contain the same drug, salmeterol; in Serevent, salmeterol is alone, while in Advair it is combined with another medicine. Foradil does not contain salmeterol; its active ingredient is formoterol.
Concerns have arisen about the three drugs, the Food and Drug Administration said, because in a small number of patients they "have been associated with severe asthma exacerbations."
It will be chaos in the asthma clinics if Advair is withdrawn from the market; most asthmatics at the U of MS asthma clinic are on it. Advair combines serevent with an inhaled steroid and is a convenient and effective treatment for asthma.