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First once-a-day inhaler approved

10 January 2014 09:27

The first once-daily asthma inhaler has been granted approval for use in Britain

The first once-daily asthma inhaler has been granted approval for use in Britain

The first ever once-a-day asthma inhaler has been approved for use in Britain.

Relvar Ellipta is the name of the new drug, which uniquely combines a steroid dose to reduce inflammation with a new type of long-acting beta2 agonist to open the airways.

Anyone with asthma travel insurance who is planning to book a dream holiday in 2014 may be hopeful that the new medicine could represent a more convenient and effective way to keep their condition under control.

Some people with asthma will even be able to dispense with their blue inhaler, although others will need to continue to also carry one for when they require immediate relief.

Relvar Ellipta has been approved by the European Commission for prescribing by GPs and asthma specialists to adults and adolescents aged 12 and over, though the NHS drug watchdog NICE is yet to evaluate its cost effectiveness.

The new inhaler can also be used by thousands of people living with the lung disease COPD.

Before granting approval, the European Medicines Agency reviewed results from 10 clinical studies involving 7,783 patients with COPD and 16 trials in 9,326 patients with asthma.

Research has revealed that patients use the grey palm-sized device correctly from the outset and up to six weeks later.

The new treatment offers 24-hour help to asthmatics, many of whom are currently failing to keep the condition under control.

Asthma is an inflammatory disease that constricts the airways and the resulting attacks of breathlessness can be fatal.

More than five million Britons are affected by the condition and many of them experience moderate to severe problems.

Up to three out of four of these patients with moderate to severe problems have "uncontrolled" symptoms despite using one inhaler designed to combat an attack and a second inhaler to keep the airways open.