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Drug can decrease death risk in smoker's cough, expert says

Drug can decrease death risk in smoker's cough, expert says

GlaxoSmithKline Plc's Advair Diskus inhaler cut the risk of death in people with a lung condition caused by smoking more than Boehringer Ingelheim GmbH's Spiriva HandiHaler, according to a new study.
Patients with smoker's cough who used the highest dose of Advair were 52 percent less likely to die over a two-year period compared with those on Spiriva, the study published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine showed.
Glaxo is trying to extend use of the top-selling Advair, which is also prescribed to treat asthma, as growth in sales of the inhaler slows. Friday's study showed that patients using Advair had more improvement in quality of life than those given Spiriva. The rate at which symptoms of the ailment, known as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, worsened was similar.
"There is no cure for COPD, so we must manage the disease as effectively as possible to provide patients with the best outcomes," Wisia Wedzicha, a professor of respiratory medicine at University College London, said in a statement from London- based Glaxo.
European regulators approved the higher dose of Advair, which combines 500 micrograms of fluticasone propionate powder and 50 micrograms of salmeterol powder, for severe COPD in 2003. The product brought in 6.13 billion pounds (US$12.2 billion) for Glaxo, the world's second-largest drugmaker, in 2006, an increase of about 12 percent from a year earlier.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration rejected the drugmaker's application to sell the higher dose of the inhaler for the disease in August, questioning how the highest dose of Advair compared with a medium-strength one. A medium-strength version was cleared in the U.S. for COPD in 2003.
The company-funded study enrolled more than 1,300 people in Europe and followed them for two years. It was the first clinical trial to show a clear difference in death risks for two approved COPD treatments, Glaxo said in the statement.
Symptoms requiring antibiotics occurred more frequently in patients on Advair, while exacerbations requiring steroids that affect the whole body happened more frequently in those on Spiriva, Glaxo said. The Advair group had an 8 percent increase in pneumonia, compared with 4 percent in the Spiriva group, and a 6 percent increase in yeast infections or thrush, compared with 3 percent in the Spiriva group.
COPD kills more than 3 million people worldwide a year, according to Glaxo. Patients, mostly cigarette smokers, develop blockages in their airways that can worsen over time, leading to respiratory failure.