The FDA has approved a new inhaled asthma treatment, Asmanex, for patients aged 12 and older.

Asmanex delivers anti-inflammatory medication for asthma through a dry powder delivery system. It is used to prevent asthma symptoms rather than treat asthma symptoms once they occur.

Unlike many other asthma inhalers Asmanex is approved for once-daily treatment, Schering-Plough spokeswoman Mary-Frances Faraji tells WebMD. Schering-Plough is the maker of Asmanex.

For patients who had been taking oral anti-inflammatory medication, the recommended dose is two Asmanex inhalations daily, according to a news release.

The active ingredient in Asmanex is mometasone furoate, which is used in another form in the prescription nasal allergy spray called Nasonex, also made by Schering-Plough.

Asthma Increasing

Asmanex (and other treatments) don’t cure asthma. Instead, they help manage symptoms, which may vary from patient to patient but can include:

—Wheezing

—Coughing

—Chest tightness

—Rapid or shallow breathing, or difficulty breathing

—Sleep disturbance

—Shortness of breath

—Tiring quickly during exercise

Asthma has become more common among Americans. Among children, asthma is more common among boys and black children. In young adults, more women than men have asthma. Asthma is also increasing in developing countries.

Genetics, environment, and immune system factors can all contribute. Asthma triggers can include tobacco smoke and allergens such as dust mites, animal dander, and cockroaches. Some studies have suggested that obesity might be connected to asthma, but that’s not clear.

By Miranda Hitti, reviewed by Michael W. Smith, MD

SOURCES: FDA, “Asmanex Approval.” Mary-Frances Faraji, spokeswoman, Schering-Plough. Reuters. WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise: Asthma in Children.” WebMD Medical News: “Obesity May Raise Kids’ Asthma Risk.”