Is Combination Inhaler Better at Preventing Asthma Attacks?

asthma ukUsing innovative local technology, a groundbreaking New Zealand asthma study has demonstrated that the two inhalers doctors usually prescribe for asthma wellness are old news – combination inhalers are more effective at preventing asthma attacks. The results were published in the prestigious Lancet medical journal, which said the compelling new evidence could change international asthma treatment practices and guidelines, and improve the wellbeing of asthma sufferers worldwide.

According to current medical guidelines, it is usually recommended that adult patients are prescribed two inhalers; one for regular, preventative use, and a reliever which is used to treat asthma symptoms. However, the study from the Medical Research Institute found a single inhaler that combines long-acting beta agonists from preventers with corticosteroids from relievers, was more effective at reducing severe asthma attacks.

So what is this new inhaler? The Nexus6 is a commercially available asthma inhaler which electronically monitors usage with an in-built microprocessor that records data every time a you take a puff. Via the internet or a mobile phone, the data is wirelessly transmitted and so you, your doctor and researchers can monitor the frequency of doses in real-time. Developed by Auckland medical technology company Nexus6, the researchers compared the combination smart inhaler to conventional inhalers among roughly 300 adult asthma patients in New Zealand.

The researchers were able to track patterns of use and delays in seeking treatment, thanks to the combination inhaler’s chip, and so they found smart inhalers reduced the risk of severe asthma attacks without increasing the risk of beta agonist overuse or long-term corticosteroid exposure. There was a 40% lower rate of high use, marked overuse and extreme overuse of beta agonists among combination inhaler users than the group given the standard treatment.

According to Medical Research Institute director Professor Richard Beasley, a respiratory medicine expert at Otago University in Wellington, ‘We’ve been able to look at the efficacy and safety in so much more detail because we did the electronic monitoring. We’ve got an insight and a knowledge of the regime greater than anyone else has been able to achieve before. And as the Lancet editorial says, this will change practice and guidelines.’

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