A few weeks ago, I posted on the recent meta-analysis examining the safety of long acting beta-agonists, LABAs. Going by the names salmeterol (Serevent) and formoterol (Fordil), these medications are components of Advair and Symbicort, which also contain inhaled corticosteroids. The FDA recently convened a special advisory panel regarding the safety of these agents, and, fortunately, there were prominent members of the asthma community to advise them along the way. Following the best available evidence and expert opinion, the panel reaffirmed that combination therapy is the preferred choice for adults and children with persistent asthma.
Additionally, they said that LABAs should not be used in isolation, without the addition of an inhaled steroid. For anyone familiar with the literature and with these medications, this is a glaringly obvious conclusion. The scary part is that the FDA had to convene a special panel to resolve internal disagreements regarding the use of these medications. Thanks to those members of the AAP, ATS, and AAAAI who aided in this important decision.