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by Robert MacKay, Tuesday, January 8, 2013 | Categories: Asthma

There has been some very interesting research published by the Brighton and Sussex Medical School into children who suffer from severe asthma but who do not respond well to Salmeterol . The researchers have demonstrated that Salmeterol does not work well for patients who have a genetic mutation that causes the shape of the Beta-2 receptors to be different. Around 1 in 7 children have this genetic mutation and the same ratio of asthma sufferers do not respond well to Salmeterol.

The researchers split a group of 62 children who did not respond well to Salmeterol into two sub groups; one was treated with Montelukast and the other was treated with Salmeterol. The Montelukast group had a significantly better response.

The really exciting bit about this research was that the low responders could be predicted using a very simple spit test to screen for the mutation. This brings personalised treatment for asthma that one step closer.

Please note that prescribing guidelines have not been changed as a result of this small but important study and the spit test is not yet commercially available so GPs do not have access to this type of screening for their patients.

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