One asthma inhaler is being hailed as a game changer for patients.
A New Zealand-led study has found adults with mild asthma that use the combination inhaler Symbicort, have half as many attacks as those using a Ventolin reliever
The research published in the United States today could help the hundreds of New Zealanders with the condition.
Wellington researcher Professor, Richard Beasley, told Mike Hosking it's remarkable because it seems so obvious.
"There's been a sort of a movement around the world over the last five to 10 years that there has to be a better way of treating asthma, and we have taken on the study and got quite an impressive result."
An asthma patient
Sarah Harris, 39, a laundromat installer and mother of two, of Kingseat, south of the Manukau Harbour, has had mild asthma since she was pregnant with son Cole, who is now 14.
"I caught pneumonia when I was pregnant with my son when I was 24. I got asthma then and it never went away."
Cole and Sarah's husband, Conan, also have the breathing disorder.
"I don't get it very often," Harris said. "Some days I'm just short of breath or it's harder to get around."
Hospital treatment had never been required.
She uses Flixotide inhaled corticosteroid preventer medication twice a day, and occasionally also a Ventolin reliever inhaler. The Ventolin sees more regular use, however, when she catches a cold. And around once a year she needs stronger treatment.
"If it's really bad, I just can't do anything and I usually end up with prednisone [oral steroid medicine]."
Cole had been prescribed a Symbicort combination medication inhaler, two doses a day, and Sarah was interested in the study's findings on using that type of inhaler on an as-needed basis to treat mild asthma.
"That would be helpful for a lot of people," she said.