Optimizing asthma management: Role of long-acting muscarinic antagonists


Patients with asthma who are suboptimally responsive to inhaled corticosteroids (ICS) and long-acting β-agonists (LABAs) are frequently exposed to oral corticosteroids and high-dose ICS, which can lead to significant side effects. Long-acting muscarinic antagonists (LAMAs) have demonstrated efficacy and safety in a subset of these patients. This review summarizes the results of key studies using LAMAs in patients with asthma aged 12 years or older. LAMA as an add-on treatment improved lung function and asthma control in patients with uncontrolled asthma across studies. The efficacy of LAMAs as an add-on to ICS was superior to that of placebo and ICS dose escalation and comparable with that of LABAs. LAMA plus ICS plus LABA provided modest improvements in bronchodilation and increased the time to first severe exacerbation versus ICS plus LABA. Single-inhaler triple therapy was associated with decreased health care resource utilization and improved cost-effectiveness versus multiple inhalers. LAMAs were generally well tolerated; asthma exacerbations, bronchitis, and nasopharyngitis were common adverse events with LAMA in combination with ICS alone or ICS plus LABA. Thus, the overall evidence presented in this review supports the use of add-on LAMA treatment as a reasonable option in patients with asthma uncontrolled with ICS plus LABA or ICS alone.

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