New treatment for hard-to-control asthma?

LOS ANGELES A U.S. government-funded asthma study found Spiriva is as good as GlaxoSmithKline's Serevent.

Editors of the New England Journal of Medicine, which published the study, chastised Glaxo, saying the British drugmaker declined to donate its asthma drug, Serevent and look-alike placebo for the study, to compare it with two other treatments.

That forced scientists doing the study to spend nearly $1 million of taxpayer money to buy Serevent and the placebo.

Researchers tested three inhaled treatments: doubling the steroid dose, adding Glaxo's Serevent or adding Boehringer Ingelheim's Spiriva, which is approved for emphysema and other chronic lung conditions, but not asthma.

Researchers found Spiriva worked better than a double steroid dose and was as effective as Serevent.

Teva Pharmaceutical Industries supplied the inhaled steroid medicine and Boehringer Ingelheim provided Spiriva. Both companies also donated matching placebos.

Researchers bought Glaxo's Serevent.

Glaxo says it declined to participate because Spiriva is not approved to treat asthma.

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