SMC approves asthma combination inhaler

 The Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) has approved a new combination inhaler for the regular treatment of asthma.

The flutiform inhaler is a combination of a steroid (fluticasone) and a muscle relaxant (formoterol).

Launched in the UK by Napp Pharmaceuticals in September, flutiform offers potential cost savings relative to the standard combination inhaler.

The new inhaler is the first to combine these medications. Fluticasone is an inhaled corticosteroid (ICS) that reduces inflammation; formoterol is a long-acting β2-agonist (LABA) that relaxes narrowed airways.

The SMC has recommended flutiform for the regular treatment of asthma in patients where the use of an ICS/LABA combination is appropriate (patients who are taking both drugs separately, with or without good outcomes).

Clinical trials involving 1,900 patients have shown flutiform to be clinically non-inferior to, and potentially cheaper than, the standard combination product for treatment of asthma.

Asthma causes over 1,000 deaths per year in the UK. Up to 90% of these deaths are preventable through medication.

“Many people with asthma are not optimally controlled and remain at risk of exacerbations with the consequence of reduced quality of life and increased healthcare costs. So advances in medication and a new combination treatment option are very much welcomed,” said David Price, Professor of Primary Care Respiratory Medicine, University of Aberdeen.

“In combining fluticasone and formoterol in one inhaler, doctors now have a new alternative combination treatment, which may help some patients better manage their condition.”