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Updated Asthma Guidelines | Drug News | May 2021

May 2021 | Drug Information and News for Health Care Providers | View PDF

Recent landmark trials in asthma have shown that the frequent use of a short-acting beta-agonist (SABA) can increase risk of severe asthma exacerbations, so a paradigm shift in asthma management has occurred, with an inhaled corticosteroid (ICS) recommended for occasional symptoms and as-needed use as both controller and reliever. Note that controllers are medications used to prevent symptoms and relievers are used for prompt treatment of symptoms.1,2 The table below summarizes available asthma medications.

SABA = short-acting beta-agonist, LABA = long-acting beta-agonist, ICS = inhaled corticosteroid

References for table: 1-3


  1. Global Initiative for Asthma (GINA). Global strategy for asthma management and prevention. 2020 Update. Accessed March 28, 2021.
  2. Yang CL, Hicks EA, Mitchell P, et al. 2021 Canadian Thoracic Society Guideline – A focused update of the management of very mild and mild asthma. Can J Resp, Critical Care, and Sleep Med. Accessed March 28, 2021.
  3. Government of Canada. Drug Product Database Online Query. Accessed April 10, 2021.

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