Salmeterol is a β2 agonist with prolonged bronchodilator action. Delivery is by conventional metered dose inhaler (MDI – 25μg per puff) or by dry powder inhalation (Diskhaler – 50μg per ‘blister’). Allen and Hanburys claim that salmeterol represents ‘a new era in asthma management’, by combining long and effective bronchodilation with novel anti-inflammatory effects on the airways. However, the clinical importance of an anti-inflammatory effect is not proven, and the manufacturer stresses that salmeterol is not a substitute for protection with inhaled corticosteroid.
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