Role of anticholinergics in asthma management: recent evidence and future needs.

Link to article at PubMed

Role of anticholinergics in asthma management: recent evidence and future needs.

Curr Opin Pulm Med. 2014 Nov 19;

Authors: Rogers L, Hanania NA

PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Anticholinergic antimuscarinic bronchodilators play a major role in the treatment of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, but their role in asthma has long been limited to acute management. More recently, the role of long-acting antimuscarinic bronchodilators (LAMAs) in chronic asthma management has been explored. This review will examine the pharmacological rationale for use of inhaled anticholinergics in the treatment of asthma, and provide an overview of the current literature supporting this use, as well as describe future research needs in this area.
RECENT FINDINGS: Short-acting anticholinergic bronchodilators have a role as add-on agents in the treatment of acute asthma. Preliminary clinical studies suggest that inhaled LAMAs may be comparable to long-acting beta2-agonists (LABAs) as an add-on therapy in patients not controlled by inhaled corticosteroids (ICS) alone, and may also have added benefit in patients not controlled on combined ICS-LABA. Mechanistic studies suggest that apart from their bronchodilator activity, LAMAs may have anti-inflammatory and antiremodeling influences on the airways. Further research is needed to clarify the clinical relevance of these experimental observations.
SUMMARY: Accumulating evidence supports the use of inhaled LAMAs as an add-on therapy in patients with asthma, who remain symptomatic despite guideline-based therapy with ICS with or without LABAs. Further studies are warranted to help define mechanisms of action of LAMAs, apart from their role as bronchodilators, and determine how these other actions impact asthma outcomes over time. Furthermore, future studies need to examine the long-term efficacy and safety of LAMAs in asthma and identify a subgroup of patients who would benefit from such therapies to facilitate early, personalized therapy.

PMID: 25415409 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

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