News Briefs from the January issue of CHEST

New data reveal that the asthma drug salmeterol may lead to an increased risk of respiratory- and asthma-related deaths in African American patients. In the Salmeterol Multicenter Asthma Research Trial (SMART), researchers from GlaxoSmithKline, Research Triangle Park, NC, National Jewish Medical and Research Center, Denver, CO, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, MA, and Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Winston Salem, NC, compared respiratory-related and asthma-related outcomes in 26,355 subjects (71 percent Caucasian and 18 percent African American) receiving usual asthma pharmacotherapy alone or usual asthma pharmacotherapy plus salmeterol for a duration of 28 weeks. Results showed that there were small, but significant increases in respiratory- and asthma-related deaths and in combined asthma-related deaths or life-threatening experiences in subjects receiving salmeterol vs placebo. A subgroup analyses showed the risk for these adverse events may be higher in African American patients compared with Caucasian patients. The study was terminated due to the findings among African American patients and difficulties in enrollment. The study appears in the January issue of CHEST, the peer-reviewed journal of the American College of Chest Physicians.

A new study shows that patients with asthma who are hospitalized have distinct gender and age differences. Researchers from Kaiser-Permanente Medical Care Program, San Diego, CA, reviewed the demographics and medical histories of 606 pediatric patients and 680 adult patients admitted for acute asthma during 1999-2000. Overall, 40 percent of pediatric patients were female, compared with 68 percent in the adult group. Among children, girls did not differ from boys according to asthma history, pulmonary index scores, or hospital length of stay. Among adults, women wer

Contact: Jennifer Stawarz
American College of Chest Physicians

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