FDA Approves New Drug to Treat COPD

Inhaled medication combines umeclidinium and vilanterol

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 18, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- A new inhaled drug to treat chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

GlaxoSmithKline's Anoro Ellipta is meant to be used once a day for long-term maintenance of airflow in patients with COPD. Anoro Ellipta combines umeclidinium, an inhaled anticholinergic, and vilanterol, a long-acting beta2-adrenergic agonist.

The FDA approval is based on findings from more than 2,400 people with COPD. The results showed that those who took the drug had greater improvements in lung function than those who took a placebo. The most common side effects reported by patients who took Anoro Ellipta included pharyngitis, sinusitis, lower respiratory tract infection, constipation, diarrhea, pain in extremities, muscle spasms, neck pain, and chest pain.

Serious side effects that can be caused by the drug include paradoxical bronchospasm, cardiovascular effects, acute narrow-angle glaucoma, and worsening of urinary retention.

Anoro Ellipta is not approved for asthma treatment and should not be used as a rescue treatment for acute bronchospasm, the FDA said. The drug carries a boxed warning that the class of drugs that vilanterol belongs to increases the risk of asthma-related death.

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