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Inhaler switching study shows reduction in costs

Switching patients to a beclomethasone/formoterol inhaler can significantly boost asthma control and reduce costs, suggests a new study.

The study found using a beclomethasone/formoterol inhaler (Fostair) versus a fluticasone/salmeterol inhaler (Seretide) could reduce asthma-related costs by £93.63 per patient annually.

Reasearchers reached their conclusion after examining retrospective records of 1,528 patients, including 1,146 using fluticasone/salmeterol and 382 who had been using fluticasone/salmeterol but then were switched to beclomethasone/formoterol at an equivalent or lower dosage.

The study - published in the Primary Care Respiratory Journal last month - found that the chance of achieving overall asthma control was 50% higher in those treated with beclomethasone/formoterol, compared with fluticasone/salmeterol, when considering factors such as frequency of asthma-related hospitalisations and bronchial infection rates.

The incidence of severe exacerbations was roughly the same in both groups.

Study researcher Dr Dermot Ryan, a GP in Loughborough and clinical respiratory lead for the NHS East Midlands Area Team, said: ‘The study demonstrates that the benefits of switching that have been observed in randomised clinical trials can be replicated in a real world setting.’

Readers' comments (3)

  • I use Seretide and was offered the the alternative, but needed two doses / puffs instead of one, so the cost actually went up by around £5 per script.

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  • I was also offered the alternative beclomethasone /formoterol inhaler but switched back to seretide within a week because of poor control.

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  • As a practice this is something we are already doing at patient reviews and we have had some excellent responses from patients some of which has told us they feel like they have got their life back after using Fostair. There will always be the odd few who don't like or don't suit the new inhaler.

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