Asthma in Pharmacy Products

Asthma is a significant public health issue that poses a substantial health and economic burden. Despite the availability of effective asthma medications, its management remains suboptimal.

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Asthma is a significant public health issue that poses a substantial health and economic burden. Despite the availability of effective asthma medications, its management remains suboptimal. Here are some unique aspects of asthma management in pharmacy products:

1. Pharmacists' Role in Asthma Management: Recent asthma guidelines have highlighted the importance of the pharmacist's unique position and its interventional strategies in positively impacting asthma treatment outcomes¹. A study conducted in Egypt aimed to assess the degree of Egyptian pharmacists’ knowledge, attitudes, and practices towards asthma management in line with the recent asthma guidelines.

2. Over-the-Counter Availability of Rescue Inhalers: In 2018, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved an inhaled epinephrine product (Primatene Mist) as the only over-the-counter (OTC) inhaler to manage asthma symptoms. This product had been sold as an OTC inhaler from 1967 until 2011, when it was phased out along with several other inhalers for containing ozone-depleting chlorofluorocarbons. 

3. Switching to Albuterol: One positive step forward would be to make inhaled albuterol available OTC. Albuterol is a widely prescribed β 2 -agonist with greater pulmonary selectivity and less cardiac risk than the mixed α-β epinephrine.

4. Combination Rescue Inhalers: A potentially better solution would be OTC availability of combination rescue inhalers containing inhaled corticosteroids (ICS) and fast-acting β-agonists (FABAs). A growing body of literature has shown that as-needed ICS-FABA therapy like budesonide-formoterol is associated with better clinical outcomes than β 2 -agonists alone.

5. Updates in Pediatric Asthma Treatment: New treatment strategies and agents have emerged in the treatment of pediatric asthma. Pharmacists play a key role in providing education about, dispensing, and recommending the newest evidence-based treatment options for children.

These developments highlight the evolving role of pharmacists and the importance of pharmacy products in the management of asthma.