More than 5,000 people die from asthma each year in the United States. Although asthma deaths are infrequent, they have increased significantly during the last two decades.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), has approved a once-daily asthma inhaler, Asmanex, produced by drug manufacturer Schering-Plough who have been waiting approval by U.S. regulators since 1998.
The FDA approved the preventative therapy as a first-line maintenance treatment for asthmatics 12 and older who were previously treated with bronchodilators alone or inhaled corticosteroids.
The inhaler delivers Asmanex, a dry-powder with the active ingredient mometasone furoate, the same used in one of the company's best selling nasal allergy spray products. Schering-Plough says that Asmanex improves lung function as well as day and nighttime symptoms such as coughing and wheezing and decreases the need for rescue medication.
Over 17 million Americans, or 6.4 percent of the population, have asthma. Children account for 4.8 million of that figure.