October 1st 2005
Abstract: Although controller therapies are currently recommended for patients who have persistent asthma, a number of studies indicate that these therapies do not adequately control asthma in a substantial number of these patients. This observation, combined with the potential risk of adverse effects with corticosteroids, supports the conclusion that controller therapies are not appropriate for all patients. However, some patients who do not respond to one type of controller therapy will respond to another, which suggests that we might consider targeting specific medications to select patients. There is increasing evidence that certain biomarkers may be useful in guiding therapy. For example, levels of sputum eosinophils have been shown to predict which patients are at increased risk for deterioration of asthma when inhaled corticosteroids are withdrawn.