Asthma Guidelines Updated

For the first time in a decade, the National Asthma Education and Prevention Program has updated clinical guidelines for the diagnosis and management of asthma. New features include:
•an expanded section on asthma for children 5 to 11 years of age.
•information on medications.
•recommendations for patient education other than in a physician’s office.
•advice for controlling environmental factors that can cause symptoms of asthma.

The guidelines reaffirm that patients with persistent asthma need both long-term control and quick-relief medications. Also included are new recommendations:
•inhaled corticosteroids: considered the most effective long-term control medication for all age groups.
•leukotriene receptor antagonists and cromolyn: for long-term control.
•long-acting beta agonists: as adjunct therapy with inhaled corticosteroids.
•omalizumab (Xolair, Genentech): for severe asthma.
•albuterol, levalbuterol, and corticosteroids: for acute exacerbations.

(Source: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, August 29, 2007.)