Skip to main content
Carrington College Blog

FDA approves new asthma treatment

May 11, 2015

Keeping their patients in mind and using their pharmacy technology training, students have to stay up to date with new drugs that are being approved. A new asthma treatment called Breo Ellipta has been backed by the FDA for treatment of asthma in adults 18 and older.

The second product of its kind from GlaxoSmithKline, Breo Ellipta is an inhaler-based treatment1 with two parts: the inhaled corticosteroid fluticasone furoate  and vilanterol. While fluticasone prevents the discharge of inflammatory substances in the body, vilanterol relaxes airway muscles to improve breathing. Today, 19 million adults suffer from the chronic lung disease, according to the CDC2. With proper control and usage of their inhaler and avoidance of triggers, asthma patients can lead a normal life.

Journey to approval
Originally approved by the FDA in 2013 to treat chronic obstructive pulmonary disease3. Breo Ellipta underwent several studies before it was accepted for the treatment of asthma. With its recent endorsement from the FDA, Breo Ellipta can be used by patients 18 years or older. According to the FDA, the research into Breo Ellipta for patients aged 12-17 doesn’t show sufficient risk-benefit for it to be approved for a youth demographic. This is due, in large part, to the medication using vilanterol as an active ingredient, which can increase the possibility of asthma-induced death.

What causes asthma symptoms to appear?
Asthma is a genetic disease, so while there isn’t a specific cause for it, certain triggers can warrant an attack on a person affected by the illness. Triggers are separated into allergic vs. nonallergic types4.

Allergic asthma flares when a patient interacts with something he or she is already susceptible to, including mold, pet dander, pollen, etc. Nonallergic asthma, on the other hand, is brought on by agitators not related to allergies, like anxiety or stress. With a medical assistant education, a student will learn that both of these types of asthma come from a genetic response a patient’s body has to triggers, either emotional or physical.

How to prevent asthma attacks
A sufferer should learn about his or her type of asthma and focus attention on the agitators that cause it4. By knowing if one’s attacks are related to allergens, an asthma patient can attempt to eliminate those allergens from his or her environment. Once the disease has been diagnosed, he or she should stick to the plan set by his or her physician5. By taking the inhaled medications daily, as prescribed, those suffering from the disease can greatly reduce the number of flare-ups he or she experiences.

Technology is helping asthma sufferers
Modern applications for smartphones are making it easier for people with asthma to track their attacks6 and share valuable information with their physicians. Free apps like AsthmaMD, Asthma Sense and Asthma Journal offer patients the option to schedule reminders for their medication, document the severity of attacks and send information to their doctors with the click of a button.

With resources like these, men and women suffering from the disease can gather advice without having to pay for a doctor’s visit.

1“FDA approves BREO® ELLIPTA® for the treatment of adults with asthma in the US,” GlaxosmithKline Press Release, April, 30, 2015.

2“Summary Health Statistics for U.S.Adults: National Health Interview Survey, 2012,” CDC, February 2014.

3“FDA approves Breo Ellipta to treat chronic obstructive pulmonary disease,” by FDA, May 10, 2013.

4“Asthma Overview,” by Asthma and Allergy Foundation of American, 2011.

5“How Can Asthma Be Prevented,” by National Heart, Lung and Blood Association, August 4, 2014.

6“Mobile Apps and Asthma Management,” by American Lung Association, March 7, 2014.