New combination therapies for asthma

Curr Opin Pulm Med. 2001 Mar;7(2):62-8. doi: 10.1097/00063198-200103000-00002.


Combination products often have useful clinical benefits in asthma. The scientific rationale for combination therapy includes the fact that different agents have complimentary modes of action. Long-acting beta(2)-agonists have effects on airway smooth muscle, and inhaled corticosteroids have potent topical antiinflammatory effect. This combination has been shown to effectively reduce exacerbations and improve symptoms. Substantial clinical trial data provide a rationale for dual-control therapy supported by basic scientific data. Another combined therapy is inhaled steroids plus leukotriene-receptor antagonists, which provides the patient with two effective therapies. Leukotriene-receptor antagonist can also be combined with antihistamines for improved asthma control. Older therapies including theophylline and controlled release albuterol have been effectively added to inhaled corticosteroids, enabling a reduction in the dose of the inhaled steroids. Many other combination therapies are presently being tested.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Inhalation
  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones / administration & dosage
  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones / therapeutic use
  • Adrenergic beta-Agonists / administration & dosage
  • Adrenergic beta-Agonists / therapeutic use
  • Anti-Asthmatic Agents / administration & dosage
  • Anti-Asthmatic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Asthma / drug therapy*
  • Asthma / physiopathology
  • Bronchodilator Agents / administration & dosage
  • Bronchodilator Agents / therapeutic use
  • Cholinergic Antagonists / administration & dosage
  • Cholinergic Antagonists / therapeutic use
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Histamine H1 Antagonists / administration & dosage
  • Histamine H1 Antagonists / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Leukotriene Antagonists / administration & dosage
  • Leukotriene Antagonists / therapeutic use
  • Nebulizers and Vaporizers


  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones
  • Adrenergic beta-Agonists
  • Anti-Asthmatic Agents
  • Bronchodilator Agents
  • Cholinergic Antagonists
  • Histamine H1 Antagonists
  • Leukotriene Antagonists