Maintenance treatment for mild asthma frequently comprises both a regular inhaled corticosteroid and an 'as required' inhaled short-acting β2-agonist. Where such treatment fails, additional regular treatment with an inhaled long-acting β2-agonist is increasingly recommended.1 In the UK, combination inhalers containing salmeterol + fluticasone (▼Seretide - Allen & Hanburys) or formoterol + budesonide (▼Symbicort - AstraZeneca) are licensed for use either in "patients not adequately controlled with inhaled corticosteroids and 'as needed' inhaled short-acting β2-agonists" or in "patients already adequately controlled on both inhaled corticosteroids and long-acting -agonists".2–4 Here we review the efficacy of Seretide and Symbicort and discuss their place in asthma management.
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