03 July 2007

Advair has some competition

    We know that Symbicort delivers improved control as soon as the first day of use. And it has a fairly rapid onset of action, within 15 minutes. We believe that will be a point of differentiation for us.
      Tony Zook, president and chief executive of AstraZeneca

It's been over a year since I've wrote this post about Advair and a sensationalist article about it in Forbes magazine, and I am still getting comments. It's possibly my most visited post ever. Most comments are from people like me, who found Advair to be almost life-changing, our Asthma under control for the first time ever. Some comments focused on issues with the Serevent component of Advair, and there are some good points to consider there. Read the post and comments for the details.

Anyway, I decided today to see what came up in Google News about Advair, and it looks like AstraZeneca's bringing in some competition. They are about to release Symbicort which, like Advair, contains corticosteroid and a long-acting beta agonist. It will be tough to compete with Advair, though, especially since Symbicort is only approved for adults with asthma, while Advair is also approved for children with asthma and adults with CPOD.

Judging by the quote I've included at top, AstraZeneca may try to highlight the speed with which their beta agonist takes effect. This is a concern, since neither Advair nor Symbicort is meant for acute asthma attacks. That's what rescue inhalers like albuterol are for. This type of marketing could lead to a lot of confusion and health risks.

Anyway, we'll see how it goes. Here's the WSJ article about Symbicort. Happy breathing.

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