Patients with asthma are typically given two types of inhaler, a “preventer” to control the condition over the long term and a “reliever” for immediate use during an attack.
But a study of 1,700 adults with asthma found that using a combined inhaler for prevention and relief reduced severe attacks by more than a third.
The trial, carried out across 14 European nations for a year, found that patients using the combined inhaler went an average of 209 days before their first attack, but those on the traditional treatment only went without symptoms for 134 days.
Patients using the single inhaler were also less likely to be admitted to hospital for asthma treatment, researchers reported in the in the Lancet Respiratory Medicine journal.
A second study published in the same journal found that the single inhaler did not increase patients’ dose of corticosteroids, high doses of which can cause unwanted sideeffects.
Although patients using the single inhaler had a larger daily dose, they were less likely to overuse the medication because they had a lower risk of attacks, researchers explained.
By Nick Collins, Science Correspondent