Advair Lawsuit Attorneys
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Over the past few years, safety questions have been raised about Advair, a popular bronchodilator medication used to treat asthma. Asthma is a chronic lung disease that causes inflammation and narrowing of the airways in the lungs. Asthma attacks cause shortness of breath, wheezing, coughing and chest pain.
Advair was approved in 2000 to prevent asthma attacks in those patients 12 years and older whose asthma is not controlled by other medications. It is an asthma maintenance medication to be taken twice a day.
If an asthma attack has already begun, Advair will not work. However, when used on a long-term, daily basis, Advair has been demonstrated to reduce the number of asthma episodes. The problem, according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), is that the drug also "may increase the chances of severe asthma episodes when they do occur."
The Advair Diskus inhaler contains the steroid fluticasone along with salmeterol. The combination has been shown to be effective in relaxing the muscles around the airways, reducing bronchial inflammation and opening air passages in the lungs. Because of this, Advair can also be prescribed for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which is associated with chronic bronchitis and emphysema.
Advair is the pharmaceutical manufacturer GlaxoSmithKline’s biggest-selling drug, with global sales of $6.1 billion in 2006.
On November 15, 2005, the FDA asked GlaxoSmithKline to add new warnings to its labels, explaining that Advair "may increase the chance of severe asthma episodes, and death, when those episodes occur."
At the same time Glaxo was asked to strengthen its black box warning label on Advair, it was also asked to do the same for Serevent, a smaller selling, non-steroid asthma inhaler the company also produces. (Serevent contains the active ingredient salmeterol, the same drug found in Advair). Fodadil, another asthma drug which is made by Novartis AG, was also included in the beefed-up label alerts. (Fodadil contains the active ingredient formoterol).
Because of their potentially fatal side effects, doctors were cautioned that Advair and the two other asthma drugs should be prescribed only to patients who do not respond to other conventional asthma therapies.
On May 16, 2006, The FDA announced that the product labels for Advair and Serevent had been updated with new black box warnings which advised consumers that these drugs can increase the chance of severe asthma attacks, resulting in death.
On November 28, 2007, an FDA pediatric advisory panel recommended additional label warnings for children who use Advair and Serevent. The panel considered that because of the serious side effects, their risks may outweigh their benefits for children.
The national consumer group Public Citizen listed Advair and Serevent on its "worst drugs" list in 2003 and 2006. Since the fatal side effects were first reported, Serevent sales have slackened, but Advair continues to be a strong seller for Glaxo.
GlaxoSmithKline claims that Advair and Serevent are safe, and that their benefits outweigh any risks. However, many user injuries have proven that this is not true.
Asthma affects about 6.5 million children in the United States. Glaxo estimated that 13.3% of its Advair sales and 3% of its Serevent prescription sales are for children. According to FDA data, between April 2006 and March 2007, 779,006 U.S. patients aged 16 or younger received prescriptions for Advair and Serevent.
FDA panel findings, between 1994 and 2007, list 23 pediatric deaths associated with Serevent, while between 1999 and 2007, 15 pediatric deaths were associated with use of Advair.
If you believe you have developed a serious condition as a result of using Advair or Serevent, contact a drug effects attorney who specializes in products liability cases right away. A drug effects lawyer can help you pursue a lawsuit and get the compensation you deserve for your injuries.
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