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Review: addition of salmeterol leads to improved lung function and fewer exacerbations in symptomatic asthma

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QUESTION: In patients with symptomatic asthma who are currently taking inhaled steroids, does adding salmeterol improve lung function and reduce symptoms and exacerbations compared with increasing the dose of inhaled corticosteroids?

Data sources

Studies were identified by searching EMBASE/Excerpta Medica, Medline, and GlaxoWellcome databases (1985 to Sept 1999).

Study selection

Studies were selected if they were randomised, double blind, controlled trials comparing the addition of salmeterol to the current dose of inhaled steroid with an increased dose (at least doubling) of the current inhaled steroid for ≥12 weeks in adolescents and adults with symptomatic asthma.

Data extraction

Data were extracted on patient characteristics; treatment type, dose, and duration; and outcome measures based on the intention to treat …

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  • Source of funding: no external funding.

  • For correspondence: Dr S Shrewsbury, Respiratory Clinical Development, GlaxoWellcome Research & Development, Five Moore Drive, PO Box 13398, Research Triangle Park, NC 27709-3398, USA. Fax +1 919 483 8835. sbs40926{at}