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New Inhaler Helps Asthma Sufferers Breathe Easier

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CHAPEL HILL — A new type of inhaler treats the two main problems of asthma -- inflamation of the airway and tightening of muscles around the airway.

TheAdvair Diskuscontains a combination of Flovent, Seravent and other medications used to treat people with moderate or severe asthma. Unlike the traditional mist inhalers most patients are used to, Advair contains a dry powder.

"The amount of powder you inhale is about the size of a pin, so it is a very tiny amount," says Tina Brock of theUNC School of Pharmacy. "Sometimes patients say 'I cannot tell if I got anything. It did not feel like anything went down.'"

Tiny particles go down deep into the lungs and help treat inflammation and bronchial-constriction.

"One of the primary problems that we have talked about with patients with asthma is adherence -- adhering to their regimen of using their preventative medication every day. Anything we can do to decrease the number of inhalations that a patient would have to use in a day increases their likelihood that they will take it," says Brock.

Advair does not replace fast-acting inhalers for sudden asthma attacks.

Unlike traditional inhalers, it has a counter on the side that shows how many doses remain in the disk.

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