Asthma and COPD patients who use the Advair Diskus got some good news last week when the FDA approved the first generic version of the respiratory medication.
Generic Advair Diskus is indicated for the twice-daily treatment of asthma in patients aged four years and older and maintenance treatment of airflow obstruction and reducing exacerbations in patients with COPD.
The drug will be marketed by Mylan in three strengths: fluticasone propionate 100 mcg/salmeterol 50 mcg, fluticasone propionate 250 mcg/salmeterol 50 mcg, and fluticasone propionate 500 mcg/salmeterol 50 mcg.
AARC Post Acute Care Section Chair Adam Mullaly, BSRT, RRT, AE-C, says the FDA approval will be a boon to patients who rely on this drug, but notes that the generic may have more impact in the pediatric population than in adults.
“While Advair likely remains a commonly prescribed medication for asthma in children, I think GSK, the pharmaceutical company that manufactures Advair, abandoned promoting this inhaler medication combination for COPD a few years ago in favor of their comparable product BREO,” Mullaly said.
The newer inhaled corticosteroid/long acting beta2 agonist bronchodilator is a once a day versus twice a day combination and is also delivered using what Mullaly says many would argue is a much easier dry powder device.
That said, he believes RTs have an obligation to educate their patients about respiratory medications every chance they get and this new information about generic Advair should be included in the mix.
“I think it is important for respiratory therapists to routinely ask patients—and parents if applicable—about any barriers, cost being one of many, they have to utilizing their maintenance inhalers consistently,” Mullaly said. “If Advair cost is a barrier then they can explore the option of generic Advair, or other inhaled corticosteroid/long acting beta2 agonist bronchodilator combinations that may be better covered by their prescription plan.”
Adam Mullaly is a COPD navigator at Bryn Mawr Hospital-Main Line Health in Bryn Mawr, PA.
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