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Chapter 15: Lessons learned from clinical trials of asthma

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The preponderance of clinical data suggest that inhaled corticosteroids (ICSs) are the preferred therapy for the long-term management of asthma, whereas oral or parental corticosteroids and short-acting beta2-adrenergic agonists remain the mainstay treatment of acute exacerbations. Allergen and tobacco avoidance are tenets to the practice of allergy‐immunology and are beneficial in the treatment of asthma. Failure to avoid animal danders or fungi to which a patient with asthma is allergic is a risk factor for a fatal attack. First introduced in the 1970s, ICSs are the mainstay of pharmacotherapy to control airway inflammation and bronchial hyperresponsiveness in children and adults with asthma. ICSs reduce symptoms, exacerbations, hospitalizations, and deaths while improving quality of life and lung function. When used in combination with an ICS, essentially all clinical trials have indicated that long-acting beta2-adrenergic agonists are effective and safe. Leukotriene modifiers (LTMs) are effective in the treatment of persistent asthma, exercise-induced asthma, and aspirin-induced asthma but, in general, are less efficacious than ICSs when used as monotherapy to control asthma symptoms. Nevertheless, some patients respond to LTMs better than ICSs so a personalized approach to asthma pharmacotherapy is recommended. Not only is conventional (subcutaneous) allergen immunotherapy effective in patients with allergic asthma, immunotherapy (subcutaneous or sublingual) administered for rhinoconjunctivitis in children has been shown to reduce the development of asthma.
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Keywords: Agonists; allergen immunotherapy; asthma; inhaled corticosteroids; leukotriene modifiers; long-acting beta2-adrenergic; pharmacotherapy; short-acting beta2-adrenergic agonists

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2012-05-01

More about this publication?
  • Allergy and Asthma Proceedings is a peer reviewed publication dedicated to distributing timely scientific research regarding advancements in the knowledge and practice of allergy, asthma and immunology. Its primary readership consists of allergists and pulmonologists.

    The goal of the Proceedings is to publish articles with a predominantly clinical focus which directly impact quality of care for patients with allergic disease and asthma.

    Featured topics include asthma, rhinitis, sinusitis, food allergies, allergic skin diseases, diagnostic techniques, allergens, and treatment modalities. Published material includes peer-reviewed original research, clinical trials and review articles.

    Articles marked "F" offer free full text for personal noncommercial use only.

    The journal is indexed in Thomson Reuters Web of Science and Science Citation Index Expanded, plus the National Library of Medicine's PubMed service.
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