Combination inhalers backed for asthma

Combination inhalers have been approved for patients with chronic asthma in the latest guidance from NICE.

For adults and children over 12 years who require both an inhaled corticosteroid (ICS) and a long-acting beta-2 agonist (LABA), a combination device should be considered.

The guidance recommends GPs choose between combination treatment and separate devices, depending on the likelihood of adherence to the treatment and therapeutic need. Combination inhalers can also be a cheaper option.

Current evidence, supported by the British Thoracic Society, suggests that if a patient's asthma is poorly controlled using ICS, adding a LABA is more effective than increasing the ICS dose.

Asthma affects over five mil-lion people in the UK. Poorly controlled asthma is responsi-ble for over 74,000 emergency admissions a year.

NICE guidance

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