, Volume 378, Issue 2, pp 203-215,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 24 May 2008

RETRACTED ARTICLE: Inhaled corticosteroids and long-acting beta-agonists in adult asthma: a winning combination in all?


In the recent years, considerable insight has been gained in to the optimal management of adult asthma. Most adult patients with asthma have mild intermittent and persistent disease, and it is acknowledged that many patients do not reach full control of all symptoms and signs of asthma. Those with mild persistent asthma are usually not well controlled without inhaled corticosteroids (ICS). Studies have provided firm evidence that these patients can be well controlled when receiving ICS, especially when disease is of recent onset. This treatment should be given on a daily basis at a low dose and when providing a good response should be maintained to prevent severe exacerbations and disease deterioration. Intermittent ICS treatment at the time of an exacerbation has also been suggested as a strategy for mild persistent asthma, but it is less effective than low-dose regular treatment for most outcomes. Adding a long-acting beta-agonist (LABA) to ICS appears to be unnecessary in most of these patients for optimising control of their asthma. Patients with moderate persistent asthma can be regarded as those who are not ideally controlled on low-dose ICS alone. The combination of an ICS and LABA is preferred in these patients, irrespective of the brand of medicine, and this combination is better than doubling or even quadrupling the dose of ICS to achieve better asthma control and reduce exacerbation risks. An ICS/LABA combination in a single inhaler represents a safe, effective and convenient treatment option for the management of patients with asthma unstable on inhaled steroids alone. Ideally, once asthma is under full control, the dose of inhaled steroids should be reduced, which is possible in many patients. The duration of treatment before initiating this dose reduction has, however, not been fully established. One of the combinations available to treat asthma (budesonide and formoterol) has also been assessed as both maintenance and rescue therapy with a further reduction in the risk for a severe exacerbation. Clinical effectiveness in the real world now has to be established, since this approach likely improves compliance with regular maintenance therapy.

The author wishes to dedicate this manuscript to Prof. J. Zaagsma.
It has come to the attention of the journal, that a review article published last year (Postma et al. 2008) contains several passages which are identical to text published by other authors (Giembycz et al. 2008) without giving reference to the original source of these text blocks. The journal has come to the conclusion that this constitutes plagiarism and hence has decided to retract the paper.
An erratum to this article can be found at http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00210-009-0418-8