Tag Archives: Asthma

Spring Allergies

I just went on a nice long walk through the park, and it’s very clear that spring is here. You know why? Because I can’t breathe through my nose anymore. The allergens are out in full bloom.

This is the time of year when many people schedule an appointment with their family doctor for an allergy evaluation. It turns out that most patients that go in to see their physician do not, in fact, have allergies, but respiratory tract infections. It seems that the word on the street is that most everyone is prone to allergies to an extent, especially during certain times of the year.  It is an understandable thought, with all the trees in bloom and the tree pollen counts greater than they ever are in the whole year.

The Cycle of Salmeterol

Salmeterol emerged as a promising new therapy for Asthma in the late 1980s. This was a novel long acting beta agonist (LABA), a bronchodilator that could control asthma symptoms for at least 8 hours. Because of its long lasting effects, it was used for treatment of nocturnal asthma, and put to rest the last uses of Theophylline, an oral asthma agent with potential life threatening toxicities such as cardiac irregularities and seizures.

Clinical trials for Serevent (Glaxo’s salmeterol product) started up in 1990. They looked at the efficacy of Serevent in a 12 hour period by monitoring pulmonary function tests and symptom scores in the office setting. These 12-hour days were done on Saturdays, and they camped out with study participants, who were fed pizza and treated to great movie classics such as “Conan the Barbarian” (starring the Governator, Arnold Schwarzenegger). Even though this was a blinded placebo-controlled trial, the effects of the active drug Serevent became obvious during the trial period. Lung function and symptom improvements lasted even throughout the 12-hour study period. This was destined to be a truly revolutionary therapy for asthma.