Study: Inhaler component may reduce benefits

Friday, April 30, 2004

PITTSBURGH - A supposedly inactive agent of albuterol may reduce the beneficial effects of the inhaled steroids used in treating asthma and other lung diseases, according to a study conducted by the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.
B. Ameredes

The findings showed that the (S)-isomer of albuterol, thought to be inert, suppresses the anti-inflammatory effect of the inhaled drug by up to two-thirds.

The (S)-isomer’s impact may be the reason some patients develop a resistance to albuterol inhalers after long-term use, said researcher Dr. Bill Ameredes.

“Some physicians are already counseling their patients to cut back on usage, if they can,” said Ameredes.

Ameredes said he hopes drug manufacturers will consider looking into more effective forms of the drug.

Levalbuterol, already in use in nebulizers, is the only form of the drug that contains only the active (R)-isomer, although work is being done to make levalbuterol available in meter dose form as well, said Ameredes.

“These findings suggest that physicians need to perhaps get the asthma in their patients under better control through the use of combination therapies,” he said.