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Lung penetration and patient adherence considerations in the management of asthma: role of extra-fine formulations

Authors Scichilone N, Spatafora M, Battaglia S, Arrigo R, Benfante A, Bellia V

Received 2 November 2012

Accepted for publication 10 December 2012

Published 9 January 2013 Volume 2013:6 Pages 11—21

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/JAA.S14743

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 5


Nicola Scichilone, Mario Spatafora, Salvatore Battaglia, Rita Arrigo, Alida Benfante, Vincenzo Bellia

Dipartimento di Biomedicina e Medicina Interna e Specialistica, Sezione di Pneumologia, University of Palermo, Palermo, Italy


Abstract: The mainstay of management in asthma is inhalation therapy at the target site, with direct delivery of the aerosolized drug into the airways to treat inflammation and relieve obstruction. Abundant evidence is available to support the concept that inflammatory and functional changes at the level of the most peripheral airways strongly contribute to the complexity and heterogeneous manifestations of asthma. It is now largely accepted that there is a wide range of clinical phenotypes of the disease, characterized primarily by small airways involvement. Thus, an appropriate diagnostic algorithm cannot exclude biological and functional assessment of the peripheral airways. Similarly, achievement of optimal control of the disease and appropriate management of specific phenotypes of asthma should be based on drugs (and delivery options) able to distribute uniformly along the bronchial tree and to reach the most peripheral airways. Products developed with the Modulite® technology platform have been demonstrated to meet these aims. Recent real-life studies have shown clearly that extra-fine fixed-combination inhaled therapy provides better asthma control than non-extra-fine formulations, thus translating the activity of the drugs into greater effectiveness in clinical practice. We suggest that in patients with incomplete asthma control despite good lung function, involvement of the peripheral airways should always be suspected. When this is the case, treatments targeting both the large and small airways should be used to improve asthma control. Above all, it is emphasized that patient adherence with prescribed medications can contribute to clinical success, and clinicians should always be aware of the role played by patients themselves in determining the success or failure of treatment.

Keywords: asthma, small airways, inflammation, quality of life, device

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