Purpose of review
Because of the central role of bronchodilators in the treatment of asthma, in recent years there has been a renewed interest in the field and now once-daily bronchodilators are in development in an attempt to simplify their use.
A variety of β2-agonists with long half-lives, also called ultra long-acting β2-agonists (ultra-LABAs; indacaterol, carmoterol, milveterol, GSK-642444, BI-1744-CL, LAS-100977, and PF-00610355) are currently under development with the hopes of achieving once-daily dosing. Between them, indacaterol, GSK-642444, and carmoterol are at a more advanced stage of development. Also several novel inhaled long-acting antimuscarinic agents are currently being developed, but their role in the treatment of asthma is limited. As combination therapy with an inhaled corticosteroid (ICS) and a LABA is considered the first-line approach for treating patients suffering from asthma, some novel once-daily combinations of LABAs and ICSs are under development.
Bronchodilators are central in the symptomatic management of asthma. It is likely that the once-daily dosing of a bronchodilator would be a significant convenience and probably a compliance-enhancing advantage, leading to improved overall clinical outcomes in patients with asthma. In any case, as a LABA in combination with an ICS continues to be the most effective asthma treatment, once-daily combinations of ultra-LABAs and ICSs will be central in the treatment of asthmatic patients in the next years.