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PUBLISHED: Nov 24, 2015 4:49pm

Relief for asthmatic patients

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THE RAKYAT POST By:
NURJEHAN MOHAMED

A large majority of asthma patients are under-treated, causing them to miss work or school. — Bigstock pic

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GOOD news for asthmatic patients.

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and Theravance Inc recently announced the launch of a once-a-day treatment option called Relvar Ellipta.

It is the first combination inhaled corticosteroid/long acting beta2-agonist (ICS/LABA) that delivers 24-hour efficacy.

This will be a great relief to asthmatic patients who rely on the inhaler to go about their daily lives.

Asthma affects some 4.5% of adults in Malaysia. Studies have found a large majority of asthma patients are under-treated and forced to miss work or school due to uncontrolled asthma attacks.

The Health Ministry’s 2014 report indicated that respiratory diseases accounts for 12.41% of hospitalisations in both government and private hospitals.

“Research has shown us that despite patients getting treated for asthma, more than half of them do not have well-controlled asthma,” said Datuk Dr Abdul Razak Abdul Muttalif, senior consultant chest physician and director of the Institute of Respiratory Medicine, KL, at the launch of the treatment.

He added that poor adherence to treatment contributes greatly to poor asthma management and one of the main reasons for the low treatment adherence is because patients are uncomfortable using the inhaler in public.

“If medication is not taken as prescribed, patients have an increased risk of asthma attacks, which can, in extreme cases, be fatal,” he added.

Relvar Ellipta is a combination of the inhaled corticosteroid, fluticasone furoate “FF”, and the long-acting beta2-agonist, vilanterol “VI”.  It is administered once daily using the Ellipta device, a new dry powder inhaler.

Due to its long-lasting formulation, it provides continuous 24-hour efficacy that allows patients to use their inhaler just once a day at a time that is convenient for them.

“Relvar Ellipta has been developed with patients in mind and we are proud to make it available to asthma patients in Malaysia whose lives have been continuously disrupted, because of poor management of the condition,” said Dr Saikiran Leekha, Pharma & Vaccines medical affairs director, GSK Malaysia & Brunei.

He added that simpler treatment and dosing regimen the new treatment provides is a much needed alternative treatment option for both patients and physicians.

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