Certain asthma drugs, particularly those used in inhalants, could be contributing to the increase in the number of deaths from asthma.
A study of 12,000 patients in Saskatchewan, Canada who had been prescribed B2-agonist bronchodilators found that patients using the B-agonists with a metered dose inhaler were at increased risk of death from asthma.
The main culprit was the B-agonist fenoterol, which placed the risk at more than fivefold per canister, compared with a two and a half times increased risk with the use of albuterol. New England Journal of Medicine, 20 February 1992.
Meanwhile, for exercise enthusiasts with asthma, another study found that exercise induced asthma could be controlled through the use of a lightweight mask (called a Filta Guard Mask, from Intersurgical, in Middlesex) which retains heat and moisture.
The mask contains material similar to that used in heat and moisture exchanges in intensive care facilities.