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January 30, 2009 | Medical

Asthma Inhalers Linked to Serious Side Effects

FDA Panel Says Some Asthma Inhalers are Risky and are not Worth Taking.

A FDA Panel said Thursday that the risks of death and serious injury associated with certain of asthma inhalers are greater than the benefits of the drugs. The drugs discussed by panel were: Serevent, Advair, Foradil, and Symbicort.

Asthma is a chronic condition which affects about 22 million Americans, including 6.5 million children and is marked by narrowing of the airways, which causes sudden difficulty breathing. The inhalers are known as long-acting beta-agonists, or LABAs, and are designed to reduce tightening of the muscles around the airway caused by asthma.

It is estimated that six million asthma patients have been prescribed these types of medications. The FDA asked the panel expert panel for advice on whether to allow certain drugs to continue to be marketed for the treatment of asthma in children and adults. There have been concerns that the products increase the risk of asthma-related side effects.

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