Airsupra was recently FDA approved for rescue treatment for asthma. Airsupra is a combination product of albuterol and budesonide that is for as needed treatment of bronchoconstriction and to reduce exacerbations for those 18 years and older.
Albuterol has been the mainstay for many years in the treatment of acute asthma exacerbations. Albuterol is a short acting beta agonist which helps open the airways in asthmatic patients. But asthma exacerbations do not solely consist of constricted airways. There is also underlying airway inflammation that can be associated with it as well. Inhaled steroids are used to treat the inflammation in asthmatic patients. By using both ingredients, a bronchodilator and an anti-inflammatory agent, Airsupra can treat both components of asthma.
There have been several studies showing the benefit of using a combo albuterol/steroid over just albuterol alone. Inhaled are commonly used as a maintenance measure in persistent asthmatics. Some examples are Advair, Symbicort and Dulera. The difference between these medications and Airsupra is that the other combo products have a long acting beta agonist (LABA). Albuterol has a faster onset of action which is why it is best used for quick, emergency relief.
Airsupra will come as meter dose inhaler and it is being produced with AstraZeneca and Avillion. Airsupra is a rescue inhaler and will not be used for maintenance treatment. Airsupra could be used with symptoms of cough, wheezing, shortness of breath or other related asthma symptoms.
Undoubtedly the cost of Airsupra will be significantly more than just albuterol alone which has been generic for many years. If cost is prohibitive, it could be possible to get the same effect and take albuterol and another inhaled corticosteroid separately. Other stand alone steroid inhalers are Pulmicort (budesonide), Alvesco (ciclesonide), Asmanex (mometasone), Flovent (fluticasone) and Qvar (beclomethasone).
All asthma patients should have an emergency inhaler regardless of their severity. Patients should speak to their asthma doctors and see if an albuterol/steroid inhaler is right for them when they have attacks or exacerbations.