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2 Drugs Found to Be Effective Against Exercise-Triggered Asthma

Two drugs have proved effective in preventing asthma attacks triggered by exercise, according to today’s New England Journal of Medicine. The drugs are Singulair, known generically as montelukast, a newly approved once-a-day pill made by Merck & Co., and Serevent, or salmeterol, an aerosol spray made by Glaxo Wellcome Corp.

Asthma brought on by vigorous exercise is common. It occurs especially often when people work out in cold, dry air. Researchers tested Singulair on 110 people with mild asthma. After 12 weeks of therapy, 73% getting the drug said their asthma control was better during exercise, compared with 44% who got placebos. In the other study, researchers measured the amount of air people could blow out of their lungs before and 60 minutes after exercise while on Serevent or a placebo spray. This amount decreased 19% among patients on a placebo and about half that among those taking Serevent.

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--Compiled by Times medical writer Thomas H. Maugh II

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