Skip to main content
Evidence based answers - Is salmeterol safe in asthma?
Australian Family Physician (2006)
  • Geoffrey Spurling, University of Queensland
  • Jenny Doust, University of Queensland
Case history SW, 21 years of age, presented for a prescription for her salbutamol puffer. She had a long history of chronic persistent asthma usually exacerbated by upper respiratory tract infections (URTIs). These exacerbations had occasionally landed her in hospital but never in intensive care. After a friend died of an asthma attack, SW adhered rigorously to her asthma plan and always used a spacer for her preventer, fluticasone. It therefore surprised me when I noticed that she had had no URTIs yet had been prescribed salbutamol by another general practitioner in the practice only 2 weeks previously. In response to my concern, she admitted that despite using the correct puffer technique, the salbutamol was only lasting a few hours before she became breathless. She found she needed the salbutamol a number of times a day. We decided to add a long acting beta agonist (LABA), salmeterol, to her regimen to help control her symptoms. SW agreed but asked: ‘It will help won’t it, I don’t want to end up like my friend.’ Obviously SW was worried with her recent increase in symptoms. I assured her that with her current regimen and a good action plan, there should be no cause for concern. She left with her salmeterol prescription feeling reassured. However, a thought nagged me for the rest of the session. Wasn’t fenoterol, a LABA, found to cause asthma deaths?
  • salmeterol,
  • asthma treatment,
  • long acting beta agonist
Publication Date
January 1, 2006
Publisher Statement
Published Version.

Spurling, G. and Doust, J. (2006). Evidence based answers - Is salmeterol safe in asthma? Australian family physician, 35(8), 625-626.

Access the publisher's website.

© Copyright The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, 2006
Citation Information
Geoffrey Spurling and Jenny Doust. "Evidence based answers - Is salmeterol safe in asthma?" Australian Family Physician Vol. 35 Iss. 8 (2006)
Available at: