Article Text

Download PDFPDF
The β2 receptor and airway hyper-responsiveness: are sensory nerves involved?
  1. Clive Page
  1. Correspondence to Professor Clive Page, Sackler Institute of Pulmonary Pharmacology, Division of Pharmaceutical Sciences, King’s College London, Guy’s Campus, London Bridge, London SE1 9RT, UK;{at}

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.

The use of β2 agonists for the control of symptoms is central to the treatment of patients with asthma. However, there is controversy surrounding the regular use of this drug class as numerous studies have demonstrated a variety of changes that can be considered unwanted attributes, particularly when these drugs are used regularly as monotherapy. These include increased bronchial hyper-responsiveness (BHR) to inhaled contractile agents1 and an increase in the allergen-induced early2 and late asthmatic response3 following regular treatment with short-acting β2 agonists (SABAs). Furthermore, a number of studies have suggested that regular treatment with inhaled SABAs and long-acting β2 agonists (LABAs) by inhalation leads to a loss of bronchoprotection4 5 and with salmeterol treatment an excess mortality in patients with asthma,6 a trend also observed with regular treatment with formoterol.7 This has led the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to post black-box warnings on all medicines containing these LABAs.

Christian Virchow and colleagues from Rostock have provided data (see page 763) on a potential mechanism as to how regular treatment with salmeterol can paradoxically increase BHR. …

View Full Text


  • Competing interests CP is a co-founder of Verona Pharma which has an interest in developing novel drugs for treating respiratory diseases.

  • Provenance and Peer review Commissioned; not externally peer reviewed.

Linked Articles