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Prescribing Advice for GPs

An NHS Prescribing Advisers' Blog

MHRA Advise on LABAs

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Authority has released a safety message on Long-Acting Beta-2 Agonists (LABAs) following concerns in America.

As previously reported, the results of the SMART Study have raised concerns over the use of LABAs in Asthma in the United States. LABAs can be issued without a steroid in America, however in the UK this would not occur if the BTS Guidelines are followed.

The MHRA message reminds prescribers that:

  • patients given salmeterol or formoterol should always be prescribed an inhaled corticosteroid
  • patients with acutely deteriorating asthma should not be initiated on salmeterol or formoterol
  • patients should be monitored closely during the first 3 months of treatment

Action: Clinicians involved in the treatment of asthma should ensure that they are following the current BTS Guideline. Audits should be conducted to ensure that patients who are prescribed LABAs are also prescribed inhaled steroids.

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