Asthma pill 'as effective as inhaler' finds drug study

The pill for asthma sufferers is already on the market but is rarely used

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Drug research at a Norfolk university has found the asthma pill to be "as effective" as the inhaler.

The University of East Anglia's study on 650 local patients, aged 12 to 80, found 80% could take the more user-friendly pill instead.

The results could give more options to asthma sufferers, with many finding inhalers a nuisance to use.

The research was conducted on people in Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex and Cambrigeshire.

Approximately 5.4m people in the UK have asthma, with 1.1m of those being children.

"The tablet may provide an alternative that can be as effective as an inhaler," said Dr Stanley Musgrave, co-author of the research which was published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

"What the study basically says to a doctor or nurse when working with a patient is that this is something they may want to consider as well as the standard therapies.

"The medication is available on the NHS, it's just been a lower or a second choice," he added.

The once-a-day tablets, called leukotriene receptor antagonists (LTRAs), can be commonly found under the brand names Accolate and Singulair.

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