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Editorials |

Deleterious Effects of Inhaled β-Agonists : Short-Acting and Long-Acting Agents Differ

Malcolm R. Sears, MB
Author and Funding Information

Affiliations: Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
 ,  Dr. Sears is from the Asthma Research Group, McMaster University, Firestone Regional Chest and Allergy Unit, St Joseph’s Hospital, Hamilton.

Correspondence to: Malcolm R. Sears, MB, Professor of Medicine, Asthma Research Group, McMaster University, Firestone Regional Chest and Allergy Unit, St Joseph’s Hospital, Hamilton, Ontario L8N 4A6, Canada; e-mail: searsm@mcmaster.ca



Chest. 2001;119(5):1297-1299. doi:10.1378/chest.119.5.1297
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Just over a decade ago, a year-long, crossover, randomized, placebo-controlled trial12 of regular vs as-needed, inhaled short-acting β2-agonist in 64 New Zealand asthmatic patients, most of whom used inhaled corticosteroids, found a deleterious effect of dry-powder fenoterol, 400 μg qid, on the control of asthma. Control was judged by within-patient between-treatment comparisons of symptoms, exacerbations, lung function, and airway responsiveness to methacholine challenge. The study confirmed earlier suggestions4 that regular short-acting inhaled β-agonists may enhance airway responsiveness, and showed, in a clinical context, that this resulted in increased morbidity from asthma.

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