Thorax 68:192-194 doi:10.1136/thoraxjnl-2012-202071
  • Chest clinic
  • Audit, research and guideline update

Long-acting β-agonist prescribing in people with asthma in primary care

  1. Bruce Guthrie1
  1. 1Population Health Sciences Division, Medical Research Institute, University of Dundee, Dundee, UK
  2. 2School of Medicine, University of St Andrews, Fife, UK
  3. 3Division of Applied Health Sciences, University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Daniel R Morales, Population Health Sciences Division, Medical Research Institute, University of Dundee, Mackenzie Building, Dundee DD2 4BF, UK; d.r.z.morales{at}
  • Received 20 April 2012
  • Revised 1 August 2012
  • Accepted 5 August 2012
  • Published Online First 1 September 2012


Long-acting β2-agonist (LABA) monotherapy is contraindicated in asthma following reports of serious adverse events. Anonymised Scottish health data were used to determine the prevalence of LABA prescribing and LABA monotherapy (sustained and episodic) in asthma during 2006. Of 73 486 asthma patients identified, 5592 (7.6%; 95% CI 7.4% to 7.8%) were prescribed LABAs as a separate inhaler of which 991 patients had LABA monotherapy (17.7% (95% CI 16.7% to 18.7%) of patients at risk). Asthma reviews were associated with reductions in sustained (OR 0.44; 95% CI 0.32 to 0.61) but not episodic monotherapy (OR 1.16; 95% CI 0.85 to 1.57). These findings support recent changes in UK asthma guidelines recommending LABAs in fixed-dose combination inhalers.

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