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Clinical & Experimental Allergy

The clinical impact of single inhaler therapy in asthma

Authors

  • K. Czarnecka,

    1. Asthma & Airway Centre, University Health Network, Toronto Western Hospital, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    2. Division of Respiratory Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
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  • K. R. Chapman

    Corresponding author
    • Asthma & Airway Centre, University Health Network, Toronto Western Hospital, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
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Correspondence: Kenneth R. Chapman, Director, Asthma & Airway Centre, University Health Network, Toronto Western Hospital, Room 7-451 East Wing, 399 Bathurst St., Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5T 2S8. E-mail: kchapman@ca.inter.net

Summary

Background

Low-dose budesonide/formoterol combination used in the SMART fashion with symptom-reactive supplemental dosing has been reported to reduce asthma exacerbations as compared to the use of budesonide alone or to lower doses of budesonide/formoterol without supplemental dosing.

Objective

We undertook to review the non-exacerbation outcomes of SMART therapy and to assess the patient education implications of this treatment strategy.

Materials & Methods

Systematic review.

Results

Patients treated with this strategy appear to be under-treated in that the majority fail to achieve guideline-defined control standards. The SMART strategy has not been tested against equivalent or higher doses of budesonide/formoterol given in symptom-prevention fashion. Existing educational strategies that focus on recognition of poor disease control may not be applicable with SMART therapy and the use of action plans has not been clarified with this symptom-reactive strategy. There is some evidence from that the current clinical use of SMART therapy may be contaminated frequently by the concurrent prescription of short-acting bronchodilators. There is no information on long-term outcomes with a symptom-reactive ICS/LABA strategy but the use of the strategy for one year has been associated with rising sputum and airway biopsy eosinophil counts.

Conclusion

Despite fewer severe exacerbations with SMART therapy as compared to ICS monotherapy or lower dose ICS/LABA therapy, the strategy produces poor day-to-day control of symptoms and is associated with increasing inflammation.

Clinical Relevance

The symptom-reactive strategy described as SMART therapy is associated with poor symptom control of asthma.

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