ITEMS IN AFP WITH MESH TERM:
ABSTRACT: Leukotriene inhibitors are the first new class of medications for the treatment of persistent asthma that have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in more than two decades. They also have been approved for the treatment of allergic rhinitis. Prescriptions of leukotriene inhibitors have outpaced the evidence supporting their use, perhaps because of perceived ease of use compared with other asthma medications. In the treatment of persistent asthma, randomized controlled trials have shown leukotriene inhibitors to be more effective than placebo but less effective than inhaled corticosteroids. The use of leukotriene inhibitors has not consistently shown an inhaled-steroid-sparing effect, a reduction in need for systemic steroid treatment, or a cost savings. For exercise-induced asthma, leukotriene inhibitors are as effective as long-acting beta2-agonist bronchodilators and are superior to placebo; they have not been compared with short-acting bronchodilators. Leukotriene inhibitors are as effective as antihistamines but are less effective than intranasal steroids for the treatment of allergic rhinitis. The use of leukotriene inhibitors in treating atopic dermatitis, aspirin-intolerant asthma, and chronic idiopathic urticaria appears promising but has not been studied thoroughly. Leukotriene inhibitors have minimal side effects and are well tolerated in most populations.
ABSTRACT: The National Asthma Education and Prevention Program recently updated its guidelines for the management of asthma. An evidence-based approach was used to examine several key issues regarding appropriate medical therapy for patients with asthma. The updated guidelines have clarified these issues and should alter the way physicians prescribe asthma medications. Chronic inhaled corticosteroid use is safe in adults and children, and inhaled corticosteroids are recommended as first-line therapy in adults and children with persistent asthma, even if the disease is mild. Other medications, such as cromolyn, theophylline, and leukotriene modifiers, now are considered alternative treatments and should have a more limited role in the management of persistent asthma. The addition of a long-acting beta2 agonist to an inhaled corticosteroid is superior to all other combinations as well as to higher dosages of inhaled corticosteroids alone. Combination therapy with an inhaled corticosteroid and a long-acting beta2 agonist is the preferred treatment for adults and children with moderate to severe asthma. Antibiotic therapy offers no additional benefit in patients with asthma exacerbations.