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Don’t Settle for Uncontrolled Symptoms: When It’s Time to Rethink Your Approach to Asthma Management

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(BPT) - This content is sponsored by GSK.

Those who live with asthma know that symptoms can come on suddenly, literally taking your breath away. Even if you’re avoiding triggers and following your treatment plan, your asthma can remain uncontrolled. This was the case for Shawn, who, having lived with asthma for nearly four decades, is no stranger to struggling with his breathing.

Despite working with his doctor to update his treatment plan and following it closely, he found himself continuing to experience labored breathing into his adult years. “I kind of figured that this was my future, and that it wasn’t going to get any better.”

Whether you’ve been living with asthma since childhood like Shawn or were recently diagnosed, it’s easy to think that continuing to experience some asthma symptoms every day is as good as it gets. But if symptoms are impacting your everyday life, it may be time to reconsider your asthma management approach.

Not All Asthma Is The Same

While the exact cause of asthma is unknown and may vary from person to person, the condition is characterized by several underlying causes and types of inflammation. For some people, inflammation may be triggered in response to certain factors, such as smoking, exercise, stress, allergies and pollen, air quality, illnesses, and strong odors.1

Many patients can properly manage their disease with daily treatment, but this isn’t always adequate for others. In fact, more than 60 percent of adults with asthma are living with an uncontrolled form of the disease.2

“Unfortunately, many people who suffer from asthma don’t recognize what well-controlled symptoms look like,” says Carl Abbott, PharmD, GlaxoSmithKline U.S. Medical Affairs. “They think it’s the normal course of asthma to have symptoms that don’t really go away or require your quick-relief inhaler more than two times a week.”

The following signs may indicate that your asthma is not under control:3, 4, 5

  • Dealing with symptoms of asthma more than twice a week (like wheezing, shortness of breath, coughing, or chest tightness)
  • Using your rescue inhaler for asthma more than twice a week
  • Waking up during the night because of asthma symptoms
  • Limiting your normal activities (like spending time outdoors or making plans) because of asthma symptoms
  • Seeking urgent or emergency medical attention in the past because of an asthma flare-up

Expecting More From Treatment

The more people live with uncontrolled asthma symptoms, the more they might accept them as "normal" and overlook the negative impact on their ability to perform daily tasks.

Still, patients shouldn't settle for less-than-optimal control of their symptoms. Having open and honest conversations with your doctor is the first step toward developing a treatment plan designed to ease the burden of asthma. Work with your doctor, such as an allergist, pulmonologist, or primary care physician, to create the most appropriate treatment plan for reaching your goals.

As Shawn continued to live with his symptoms, he found that they interfered with his ability to keep up with his kids and go about everyday life. Finally, he spoke up to his doctor. “I was really frustrated and shared all of this with my doctor. He asked if I had heard about TRELEGY.”

TRELEGY ELLIPTA (fluticasone furoate 100 mcg, umeclidinium 62.5 mcg, and vilanterol 25 mcg inhalation powder) is a prescription medicine used long term to treat asthma in adults. TRELEGY won’t replace a rescue inhaler for sudden breathing problems. TRELEGY contains a medicine that increases risk of hospitalizations and death from asthma problems when used alone. When this medicine is used with an inhaled corticosteroid, like in TRELEGY, there is not a significant increased risk of these events. Do not take TRELEGY more than prescribed. TRELEGY may increase risk of thrush, infections, and serious allergic reactions. Get emergency care if you get a rash, hives, mouth and tongue swelling, or breathing problems. You should see your doctor if your asthma does not improve or gets worse. Please see additional Important Safety Information below.

Shawn and his doctor worked together to develop a treatment plan that included TRELEGY. “He and I talked about TRELEGY and how it might help, and that it was three different medications. I really felt like it was important to have the three.”

TRELEGY contains an ICS (inhaled corticosteroid) and LABA (long-acting beta2-adrenergic agonist), and a third medicine called a LAMA (long-acting muscarinic antagonist). The three medicines in TRELEGY work together in one inhaler to help get asthma symptoms under control by helping patients breathe easier and improving lung function for a full 24 hours, though individual results may vary.

For Shawn, starting treatment with TRELEGY offered relief. “I noticed I was not needing to use my rescue inhalers as often, and that was a blessing. I am not letting my asthma get in the way of doing things with my family, which is awesome!”

If you’re still experiencing uncontrolled asthma symptoms, it may be time to speak with your doctor about your asthma management plan. Visit TRELEGY.com for more information.

Important Safety Information for TRELEGY

  • TRELEGY contains vilanterol. Long-acting beta2-adrenergic agonist (LABA) medicines such as vilanterol, when used alone, increase the risk of hospitalizations and death from asthma problems. TRELEGY contains an inhaled corticosteroid (ICS), an anticholinergic, and a LABA. When an ICS and LABA are used together, there is not a significant increased risk in hospitalizations and death from asthma problems.
  • Do not use TRELEGY to relieve sudden breathing problems. Always have a rescue inhaler with you to treat sudden symptoms.
  • TRELEGY should not be used in children younger than 18 years of age. It is not known if TRELEGY is safe and effective in children.
  • Do not use TRELEGY if you have a severe allergy to milk proteins or are allergic to any of the ingredients in TRELEGY. Ask your healthcare provider if you are not sure.
  • Do not use TRELEGY more often than prescribed.
  • Do not take TRELEGY with other medicines that contain a LABA or an anticholinergic for any reason. Tell your healthcare provider about all your medical conditions and about all the medicines you take.
  • Call your healthcare provider or get medical care right away if your breathing problems get worse, if you need your rescue inhaler more often than usual or it does not work as well to relieve your symptoms.
  • TRELEGY can cause serious side effects, including:
    • fungal infection in your mouth or throat (thrush). Rinse your mouth with water without swallowing after using TRELEGY to help reduce your chance of getting thrush.
    • weakened immune system and increased chance of getting infections.
    • reduced adrenal function. This can happen when you stop taking oral corticosteroids and start taking inhaled corticosteroids.
    • sudden breathing problems immediately after inhaling TRELEGY. If this happens, stop taking TRELEGY and call your healthcare provider right away.
    • serious allergic reactions. Call your healthcare provider or get emergency medical care if you get any of the following symptoms: rash; hives; swelling of your face, mouth, and tongue; breathing problems.
    • effects on heart: increased blood pressure; a fast or irregular heartbeat, awareness of heartbeat; chest pain.
    • effects on nervous system: tremor; nervousness.
    • bone thinning or weakness (osteoporosis).
    • eye problems including glaucoma, increased pressure in your eye, cataracts, blurred vision, worsening of narrow-angle glaucoma, or other changes in vision. You should have regular eye exams while using TRELEGY. Acute narrow-angle glaucoma can cause permanent loss of vision if not treated. Symptoms of acute narrow-angle glaucoma may include: eye pain or discomfort; nausea or vomiting; blurred vision; seeing halos or bright colors around lights; red eyes. If you have these symptoms, call your healthcare provider right away before taking another dose.
    • new or worse urinary retention. Symptoms may include: difficult, painful, or frequent urination; urination in a weak stream or drips. If you have these symptoms, stop taking TRELEGY and call your healthcare provider right away.
    • changes in laboratory blood values, including high levels of blood sugar (hyperglycemia) and low levels of potassium (hypokalemia).
    • slowed growth in children.
  • Common side effects of TRELEGY include: runny nose and sore throat; upper respiratory tract infection; bronchitis; respiratory tract infection; inflammation of the sinuses; painful and frequent urination (signs of a urinary tract infection); flu; headache; back pain.

    Please see full Prescribing Information, including Patient Information, for TRELEGY.

    You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit www.fda.gov/medwatch, or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

    References:

    1. What Triggers Asthma? Asthma.com. https://www.asthma.com/managing-asthma/asthma-triggers.html. Accessed May 10, 2021.
    2. Uncontrolled asthma among adults, 2016. CDC.gov. https://www.cdc.gov/asthma/asthma_stats/uncontrolled-asthma-adults.htm. Published July 8, 2019. Accessed May 24, 2021.
    3. Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Management of Asthma. nhlbi.nih.gov/sites/default/files/media/docs/EPR-3_Asthma_Full_Report_2007.pdf. Accessed May 24, 2021.
    4. Global Initiative for Asthma. Pocket guide for asthma management and prevention. https://ginasthma.org/pocket-guide-for-asthma-management-and-prevention/. Accessed May 24, 2021.
    5. Juniper EF, O’Byrne PM, Guyatt GH, Ferrie PJ, King DR. Development and validation of a questionnaire to measure asthma control. Eur Respir J. 1999; 14(4): 902-907.

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