Latebreakers: Asthma guidelines updated

September 17, 2007

New asthma guidelines released from the National Asthma Education and Prevention Program.

For the first time in 10 years, the National Asthma Education & Prevention Program (NAEPP) has issued a comprehensive update to its Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Management of Asthma. For medication use, the new guide has revised asthma management charts to specify treatment for children aged five to 11 years after new evidence showed this age group may respond to therapy in a different way from adults. Earlier guidelines combined the group with adults. The new document also reaffirmed that patients with persistent asthma need medications for both long-term control and quick relief of symptoms, and inhaled corticosteroids are the most effective long-term control medication for all age groups. Among the treatment recommendations added were leukotriene receptor antagonists and cromolyn for long-term control, long-acting beta-agonists as adjunct therapy with inhaled corticosteroids, and omalizumab (Xolair, Genentech/Novartis) for severe asthma. The new document can be accessed on-line at http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/guidelines/asthma/index.htm.