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Asthma control in a puffer that counts

News Release

Asthma control in a puffer that counts
Seretide now funded for asthma patients

Auckland 26th July 2006 – GlaxoSmithKline’s most successful asthma medicine, Seretide™, is now funded in New Zealand. Seretide (salmeterol/fluticasone) will be subsidised from 1st August. Seretide metered dose inhalers will be introduced containing a new dose counter that counts down, showing exactly how many doses are left in each canister and leaving no doubt when patients need to get their next prescription.

Seretide reduces inflammation of the airways using an inhaled corticosteroid (ICS) also called a preventer and reduces constriction of the airways using a long acting beta-agonist (LABA or controller), which reduces constriction of the airways for up to 12 hours.1

Wellington based respiratory specialist Professor Richard Beasley says he is delighted to see Seretide finally funded for New Zealanders. “Overseas, Seretide has been a common treatment for patients with moderate or severe asthma for many years but until now it has not been funded for New Zealand patients. In Australia it has been available since 2000 and is used by hundreds of thousands of asthma patients.”

“Many patients here are still prescribed relatively high doses of inhaled corticosteroid as a result of previous restrictions on prescribing other treatments. There is strong clinical evidence showing that adding an LABA like the one contained in Seretide gives a better outcome for a patient on moderate doses of inhaled steroids than increasing the dose further.2”

“Combined inhalers have the additional advantage of guaranteeing that patients take both medicines every time they use their inhaler. This is the best way to ensure the medicines are used safely and effectively and tackles both of the underlying causes of asthma symptoms,” says Professor Beasley.

Seretide is available in two different strengths to address the degrees of severity of people’s asthma and will be available in two different delivery devices - a CFC free puffer, and an Accuhaler dry powder device that is commonly used in Australia and the United States. The Seretide MDI’s new advanced design contains a dose counter that gives patients an accurate display of the number of doses left in that inhaler.

Asthma New Zealand Executive Director Gerry Hanna says, “Asthma New Zealand is a strong supporter of combination therapy because of the benefits to patients. Patients who demonstrate a lack of asthma control from their preventer medication on its own should notice a difference with combination therapy.

“People with asthma often tell us they find multiple medications a challenge and would prefer a single inhaler. For these people using one inhaler as opposed to two will be much more convenient. We are delighted to have Seretide funded, as it gives people with asthma the choices they need and brings New Zealand closer in line with the rest of the world,” says Mr Hanna.

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What you should know about Seretide
Seretide (fluticasone propionate/salmeterol xinafoate; available as a 50/25 or 125/25mcg per actuation inhaler, or as a 100/50 or 250/50mcg per actuation Accuhaler) is a Prescription Medicine for the treatment of reversible obstructive airway disease (ROAD) including asthma, and for the treatment of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Seretide is a fully funded medicine; Special Authority criteria apply. Seretide 250/25mcg inhaler is a private purchase medicine that you will need to pay for. Use strictly as directed. Seretide is not for relief of acute symptoms. Always carry your reliever inhaler. Do not discontinue Seretide abruptly. Tell your doctor if: you are taking any other medicines or herbal remedies; you have pulmonary tuberculosis (TB), a thyroid problem or a heart problem; or you are having treatment for high blood pressure; Side Effects may include: 'shaky' feeling; headache; fast heart rate; irritation in the nose and throat. If symptoms continue or you have side effects, see your doctor, pharmacist or health professional. For more information, see Seretide Consumer Medicine Information at www.medsafe.govt.nz. Normal doctor's office visit fees apply. Ask your doctor if Seretide is right for you.

Seretide and Accuhaler are trade marks of the GlaxoSmithKline group of companies. Marketed by GlaxoSmithKline NZ Limited, Auckland. TAPS No. DA0611AH/06JL/094

References
1) Seretide Data Sheet, GSK New Zealand
2) Bateman E D et al. Am. J. Respir. Crit. Care Med. 2004;170:836-844

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About Asthma

Asthma is a disease which affects the airways and lungs. It causes narrowing of the airways through inflammation or swelling inside them, and tightening of smooth muscle that surrounds them. These problems reduce airway diameter causing difficulties with breathing. At present there is no known cure for asthma and the exact cause is unknown.

Asthma is a ‘chronic’ condition and without treatment it can progressively worsen and present possible serious health risks. However, asthma can be totally controlled in many patients using inhaled medicines that tackle the causes of inflammation and muscle tightening1.


Facts & Figures

 An estimated one in every six New Zealanders has asthma2.
 According to New Zealand Health Information Mortality and Demographic data in 2002, a total of 69 people died from asthma.3
 The economic burden of asthma to New Zealand has been conservatively estimated at $800 million4.
 In 2003, The Patient Outcomes Management Study’ (POMS) estimated that 71% of New Zealand adults and 42% of New Zealand children did not have good control of their asthma5.
 New Zealand has one of the highest rates of asthma in the world along with Australia and the United Kingdom6.
 Around 300 million people worldwide have asthma6, about one in every 207.

Triggers

Asthma symptoms such as breathlessness are often ‘triggered’ by well known environmental factors. Many people with asthma are advised to avoid these triggers or to take preventative steps to manage the anticipated reaction. Common triggers include: 2
 Sudden changes in temperature, e.g. exposure to cold air or water
 Exercise
 Contact with house dust mites
 Dust or smoke
 Stress or excitement (sometimes laughter)
 Flower pollen or house mould spores
 Animal/pet hair
Common asthma medications

 Relievers – These inhalers contain a fast acting medicine that dilates the airways by relaxing the smooth muscle surrounding them8. They are known as short-acting beta agonists or SABAs. These are intended to be used infrequently and if a person uses their reliever more than 3-4 times a week, they should see a doctor to discuss ways to achieve better asthma symptom control.
 Preventers – These inhalers contain an anti-inflammatory medicine that reduces the swelling inside the airways9. They are known as inhaled corticosteroids or ICS. Preventers should used regularly (usually twice daily) to prevent asthma symptoms from occurring.
 Controllers – These inhalers contain a medicine that dilates the airways, much like relievers. They are known as long-acting beta agonists or LABAs, and can provide 12 hours of asthma symptom control.10 Controllers are used regularly (usually twice daily) to keep the airways dilated and should always be used with a preventer.
 Preventer/Controllers or Combination Therapies – These inhalers contain two medicines, a preventer, such as FlixotideTM, and a controller, such as Serevent,TM in one inhaler. This ensures that patients receive doses of both medicines at the same time, offering convenience and effective treatment of their asthma symptoms.

Useful websites
www.gsk.co.nz – GlaxoSmithKline’s website – medical conditions and medications
www.seretide.co.nz – Information of GlaxoSmithKline’s medicine Seretide
www.asthma-nz.org.nz – Asthma New Zealand, patient organisation
www.asthmanz.co.nz – The Asthma and Respiratory Foundation, patient organisation
www.ginasthma.org – The World Health Organisation initiative for asthma
www.pharmac.govt.nz – The NZ pharmaceutical schedule, details of all subsidised medicines
www.brit-thoracic.org.uk – The British Thoracic Society
www.thoracic.org – The American Thoracic Society
www.apsresp.org – The Asia Pacific Society of Respirology


References
1. Bateman E D et al. Am. J. Respir. Crit. Care Med. 2004;170:836-844

2. Asthma & Respiratory Foundation: http://www.asthmanz.co.nz/asthma.php
3. New Zealand Health Information Service downloaded July 2006 from: http://www.nzhis.govt.nz/publications/mortality.html
4. Beasley R et al. The Burden of Asthma in New Zealand. The Asthma & Respiratory Foundation of NZ Inc.2001 Dec:34-43
5. Holt S et al.NZ Med J 2003;116:1174-436. 2001.
6. Masoli, M, Fabian, D, Holt, S, Beasley, R, The Global Burden of Asthma Report, World Health Organisation, Presented at World Asthma Meeting, Bangkok, Thailand 16th Feb 2004.
7. US Census Bureau 2004 downloaded July 2006 from: http://www.census.gov/cgi-bin/ipc/popclockw
8. Ventolin Data Sheet, GSK New Zealand
9. Flixotide Data Sheet, GSK New Zealand
10. Serevent Data Sheet, GSK New Zealand


ENDS

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