Tags: asthma | drug | risks | heart

Asthma Drug Raises Risks

Friday, 25 May 2012 01:24 PM

The use of inhaled anticholinergics (IACs) has been linked with a higher risk of dangerous heart rhythm problems in young asthma patients, according to a study by researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
IACs are used to control asthma flare-ups and manage the lung condition. But the new study, presented at the American Thoracic Society’s 2012 International Conference in San Francisco, said those beneficial effects may come at a significant cost to users’ heart health.
"In our study, we found that the use of IACs was associated with an increased risk of arrhythmias in young individuals with asthma," said lead researcher Todd Lee. "Obviously, this finding raises concern because of the recent interest in use of [IACs] in asthma."
For the study, the researchers reviewed health records of 283,429 asthma patients from 5 to 24 years of age between 1997 and 2010. They tracked the asthmatics’ drug use and arrhythmia rates.
The researchers found that active use of IACs had a 1.56-fold increase in arrhythmia risk compared with non-users of IACs. But the risk of arrhythmias varied based on the type of IACs, as well as the dose. Active users of the IAC ipratropiumhad had a higher risk of arrhythmias, while the risk estimates for users of tiotropium and a combination of ipratropium and short-acting beta agonists (SABAs), another type of asthma medication, were not significant.
Lee said the results of this study may aid both clinicians and patients in deciding which asthma medication to use.
"Because of the potential risks with other asthma controller medications, it is important that patients and providers are aware of all of the potential risks and benefits for each of the classes of medications so they can make more informed treatment decisions," he said.

© HealthDay

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IACs may increase the risk of dangerous heart rhythm problems in young asthma patients.
Friday, 25 May 2012 01:24 PM
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