The recently published study is the latest finding in ongoing research into the benefits of 2 in 1 combination reliever therapy to treat asthma in adolescents and adults. Historically asthma has been treated by prescribing separate preventer and reliever inhalers, but over the last 10 years the benefits of the 2 in 1 combination preventer/reliever inhaler has been proven.

Landmark clinical trials undertaken by the Medical Research Institute of New Zealand (MRINZ) found that the 2 in 1 inhaler containing preventer medicine budesonide and reliever medicine formoterol, was a far more effective treatment in controlling asthma than the traditional single reliever inhaler. This is because it offered a regular top of the preventative medication to treat the underlying inflammation, as well as relieving short-term symptoms. These findings led to a fundamental change in ARFNZ’s treatment guidelines for adolescent and adults in 2020.

In the new study researchers found that a 2 in 1 inhaler containing budesonide and the reliever salbutamol (commonly known as Ventolin) is also effective in controlling asthma. The trial showed that people with asthma were 26% less likely to experience severe asthma attacks while using the combined inhaler, compared to those using salbutamol on its own.

MRINZ Director Professor Richard Beasley, who is the study co-author and a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of ARFNZ says the new findings are of major clinical importance. “They provide further evidence that the 2 in 1 reliever therapy approach is superior to the historical single reliever therapy approach. Furthermore, it means there will soon be alternative products available for the 2 in 1 reliever therapy approach, with some doctors and patients likely to prefer the budesonide-salbutamol inhaler.”

“The combined 2 in 1 inhaler reliever therapy approach is the biggest paradigm advance in the management of asthma in the last 30 years. Its widespread implementation in clinical practice provides a real opportunity to reduce the enormous health burden from asthma,” he says.

New Zealand has one of the highest rates of asthma in the world, with more than 610,000 people affected by asthma. The Asthma and Respiratory Foundation NZ provides education, research and advocacy for New Zealanders with respiratory diseases.


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