Advair Diskus, also known as “salmeterol xinafoate inhalation powder,” was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) in 2000 for the long term treatment of asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Together with the asthma medication Serevent, Advair belongs to a class of drugs known as long-acting beta agonists, or LABAs. Advair, which combines Serevent with a steroid, had worldwide sales of $4.4 billion last year, making the medicine the biggest-selling product for the London-based GlaxoSmithKline.
In July 1996, GlaxoSmithKline began a twenty-eight week study known as the Salmeterol Multi-center Asthma Research Trial or “SMART” to compare the effects of Serevent with a placebo. The results, which were released in early 2003, found that 13 people in the Serevent group died of serious asthma attacks brought on by the medication. According to an analysis of the study, African-Americans appeared to be at greatest risk. Like Serevent, the active ingredient in Advair is salmeterol, a beta-2 agonist that opens airways to facilitate breathing and prevent an asthma attack. Due to concern of similar risks to patients taking Advair, in August 2003 the FDA ordered label changes to both drugs requiring a black box warning informing of the rare, but significant risk, of suffering a fatal asthma attack caused by the medication. Thereafter, in 2004, FDA whistleblower Dr. David Graham cited Serevent as one of the five most dangerous drugs on the market.
Finally, on November 18, 2005, the FDA, in a Public Health Advisory, said Advair, Serevent and the lesser known Foradil, should not be used as the initial treatment against asthma, but only after other medications have proven ineffective. In fact, the agency stated that “these medicines may increase the chance of severe asthma episodes, and death when those episodes occur.” Accordingly, the active ingredient in both Advair and Serevent, salmeterol, has been shown to possibly cause the exact opposite for which it is prescribed.
In the United States alone, there are over 20 million adults and children who suffer from asthma, a condition characterized by breathing difficulty, chest tightness and chronic coughing. In addition, another 20 million people suffer from COPD, a progressive condition frequently caused by exposure to irritants such as environmental pollutants and cigarette smoke.
Have you or a loved one suffered Advair side effects or Serevent side effects?
At The Oshman Firm our experienced Advair attoneys and Serevent attorneys will provide you with aggressive representation in the handling of your case. If you or a loved one suffered a serious injury that may have been caused by one of these drugs, including an Advair death or Servent death, call or contact us to represent your interests in an Advair lawsuit or Serevent lawsuit. We offer a FREE, no-obligation consultation with an Advair lawyer Serevent lawyer so that you can learn more about your legal rights and options.