- Health Canada approves new generation asthma medication
to help children manage their disease -
OAKVILLE, ON, Feb. 11 /CNW/ - Canadian parents of children with asthma
may be lacking a sense of urgency and concern about the severity and
management of their child's disease, resulting in potential health risks to
their children. According to the Paediatric Asthma In Canada survey, conducted
by Leger Marketing, results show that although 74 per cent of parents describe
their child's asthma as mild, 17 per cent admit that their child still deals
with an asthma attack at least once a month. In addition, parents of children
with mild cases of asthma are less concerned than parents of children with
moderate to severe asthma (58 per cent versus 92 per cent).
The Paediatric Asthma in Canada survey was developed based on findings
from two focus groups and was sponsored by Nycomed Canada Inc. working with
the Asthma Society of Canada (ASC). The survey was initiated to support Health
Canada's recent extension of Alvesco(R) (ciclesonide) to treat children six to
11 years of age. Alvesco(R), an inhaled corticosteroid (ICS), is now approved
for the prophylactic management of steroid-responsive bronchial asthma in
children, adolescents and adults with varying disease severity.(1) Alvesco(R),
marketed in Canada by Nycomed, is a novel and convenient, once-daily treatment
option, which may help to address compliance with physician-recommended
The Paediatric Asthma in Canada survey goes on to show that in the past
year, 44 per cent of parents have had to make unscheduled doctor appointments
to deal with their child's asthma, including more than 10 per cent making
three or more unscheduled visits. In addition, 26 per cent of parents have had
to take their child to the emergency department, including 14 per cent taking
their child more than once.
"Our vision at the Asthma Society of Canada is to empower every child and
adult in Canada with asthma to live an active and symptom-free life, so the
results of this survey are alarming and unacceptable," says Christine Hampson,
President and CEO of the Asthma Society of Canada. "All childhood asthma,
regardless of the level of severity, should be a concern and be taken
seriously - recurring asthma attacks, multiple unscheduled doctor
appointments, and emergency room visits, are some of the signs that your
child's asthma is not effectively controlled and may be undertreated. It could
also mean that there is an issue with compliance, as some parents may not
recognize the need for ongoing asthma treatment and do not administer
medication as prescribed. Parents need to discuss their child's asthma
management with a professional," adds Hampson.
"My son has lived with moderate to severe asthma all his life and as a
family we have always struggled to manage his asthma," said Lija Whittaker, a
Canadian parent. "With busy schedules, it's difficult to ensure that my son is
controlling his asthma and following our doctor's recommendations. But as a
parent, it's important to be involved and become educated about your child's
asthma - especially about the daily use of their medications."
When it comes to the treatment of asthma, an overall 88 per cent of
parents say their children use medication (95 per cent of moderate to severe
cases versus 87 per cent of mild cases). Although the Canadian Asthma
Guidelines recommend the once or twice-daily use of an inhaled preventative
treatment, such as an ICS (which is the recommended first-line treatment for
the daily management of asthma(2)), only 27 per cent of children use
medication daily, whether they are experiencing problems or not - 46 per cent
of children with moderate or severe asthma use their medication daily compared
to only 18 per cent of children with mild asthma.
"A significant challenge of caring for children with asthma is that they
often don't comply with their treatments. This results in poor asthma control,
frequent school absences, and trips to the doctor or emergency room," says Dr.
Susan Waserman, Allergist/Clinical Immunologist, McMaster University,
Hamilton, ON. "The approval of Alvesco(R) is a welcome treatment option for
children with asthma. It is a once-daily medication which is safe and well
tolerated. This may make it easier for children to take their medication,
leading to better compliance, and improved disease control."
The Survey also determined that parents are concerned with potential side
effects of medication; most commonly noted are long-term side effects,
including an impact on growth. "Limiting growth is a real worry for parents,
especially with ICS therapy," says Dr. Denis Bérubé, pediatric pulmonologist,
associate professor of pediatrics, CHU Sainte-Justine, Université de Montréal.
"One of the key benefits of Alvesco(R) is that in clinical studies extending
over a whole year, this ICS was shown to have no effect on growth rates
compared to placebo when administered daily to children at doses of up to 200
micrograms per day. In shorter term studies, Alvesco(R) also showed a greater
increase in height versus those treated with another commonly used ICS
medication. This safety data should reassure parents and allow them to focus
on the proper daily management of their child's disease," adds Bérubé.
ASC Provides Updated Resource for Families
According to the Canadian Asthma Consensus Guidelines, asthma education
is an essential component of asthma care.(2) Although doctors are the primary
source of information on asthma, management and treatments, the Paediatric
Asthma in Canada survey confirmed the importance of the internet as a source
of information. To provide information to the approximately two-thirds of
parents who were not able to name a specific site for information, the ASC has
updated and relaunched its two main websites for children (www.asthmakids.ca)
and adolescents (www.airsquare.ca).
About Alvesco(R) (ciclesonide)
Alvesco(R) is a new generation ICS that allows for once-daily
administration in most patients, providing effective therapy with a favourable
safety and tolerability profile.(3)(4) Alvesco(R) is delivered to the lungs
where it is activated and exerts its effect; studies have shown that the
activation of Alvesco(R) in the mouth and throat is minimal.(1) The
recommended dose range of Alvesco(R) therapy is between 100mcg and 800mcg per
day for adults and adolescents 12 years of age and older and 100mcg to 200mcg
per day for children six to 11 years of age. It can be administered as one or
two puffs, once daily in either the morning or evening.(1) Patients with more
severe asthma may be more adequately controlled with Alvesco(R) 800mcg daily,
administered as 400mcg twice daily.
Health Canada's approval of Alvesco(R) for the treatment of children was
based on results from short- and long-term studies up to one year showing
Alvesco(R) improves lung function, versus a placebo, which was measured by
factors including improved asthma symptom control and reduced exacerbations.
Overall, the studies, involving children (aged six to 11 years), demonstrated
comparable safety and efficacy as seen in adult and adolescent patients. In
addition, a between-treatment comparison showed a significantly greater
increase in height in children treated with Alvesco(R) versus those treated
with budesonide (p=0.0025).(1)
About the Paediatric Asthma in Canada Survey
The Paediatric Asthma in Canada survey was initiated to obtain insight
into the knowledge of asthma among Canadian children with varying degrees of
asthma severity and to identify unmet needs in treatment and management.
Conducted by Leger Marketing, two separate national online surveys were
implemented. The first survey polled 608 Canadian parents of children with
asthma under the age of 13. A second survey was conducted among 215 Canadian
physicians who treat children with asthma under the age of 13.
For the parent survey, the maximum margin of error of a sample of 608 is
+/-4.0%, 19 times out of 20 of what they would have been had the entire
Canadian Asthma patient population been polled. For the physician survey, the
maximum margin of error of a sample size of 215 is +/6.7%, 19 times out of 20
of what they would have been had the entire Canadian physician population been
To review the Paediatric Asthma in Canada survey, please visit:
About Nycomed Canada Inc.
Nycomed Canada Inc. is the Canadian subsidiary of Nycomed; a
privately-owned, research-based pharmaceutical company. Nycomed is based in
Oakville, Ontario, with more than 220 employees across the country. Through
its innovative products and dedicated people, Nycomed is committed to
improving the health of Canadians by providing brand name, science-based
medicines that matter. For more information, please visit www.nycomed.ca.
Alvesco(R) is a registered trademark of Nycomed GmbH and is used under
Video News Release will be available via satellite on
Wednesday February 11, 2009 at:
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(1) Alvesco(R) Product Monograph. January 23, 2009.
(2) Becker A, Lemière C, Bèrubè D et al. Summary of recommendation from
the Canadian Asthma Consensus Guidelines, 2003 and Canadian Pediatric
Asthma Consensus Guidelines, 2003 (updated to December 2004). CMAJ
2005; 173 (6 suppl): 51-556.
(3) Chapman KR, Boulet LP, D'Urzo AD, et al. Long-term administration of
ciclesonide is safe and well tolerated in patients with persistent
asthma. Presented at the 4th Triennial World Asthma Meeting. February
16-19, 2004; Bangkok, Thailand.
(4) Derom E, Van De Velde V, Marissens S, Engelstaetter R,
Vincken W, Pauwels R. Effects of inhaled ciclesonide and fluticasone
propionate on cortisol secretion and airway responsiveness to
adenosine 5' monophosphate in asthmatic patients. Pulm Pharmacol
For further information:
For further information: Collin Matanowitsch, MS&L, T: (416) 847-1330,