Today FDA is seeking the advice of a large panel of medical and scientific advisers concerning whether four medications used for asthma patients should remain on the market. NY times reports that FDA’s own scientists are at odds.
From FDA’s own safety office, experts recommend Serevent and Foradil no longer be used to treat asthma and Advair and Symbicort not be used to treat children who are 17 and younger. However, studies have shown that most people benefit from the medications. These particular medications carry strong government warnings and the risks can be addressed with materials to the patients and doctors.
NY Times says that “in rare cases, the drugs can increase the risk of serious asthma complications, the kinds that send patients to the emergency room gasping for air.”
There are doctors urging FDA to not ban these asthma drugs because they feel it will affect their patients, children and adults, to not be able to control their asthma. One Doctor stated that “a ban would be an ‘extreme’ reaction.”
Asthma is a disease that is in the lung airways where the airways get swollen and inflamed. These airways react easily to certain things and when inflamed, they get narrow, making it hard to breathe.
Symptoms of asthma include: coughing; chest tightness; wheezing; and shortness of breath.
There are about 22 million people here in the U.S. who suffer from asthma. This disease has taken about 3,600 lives.
So, the real question is where do we draw the line?