Changing face of β2-adrenergic and muscarinic receptor therapies in asthma

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Abstract

Despite current available treatment options, a significant proportion of patients with asthma remain uncontrolled and asthma pharmacotherapy continues to evolve. β2-Adrenergic receptor agonists play a major role as bronchodilators in asthma therapy, although new perspectives reflect the potential for bias G-protein coupled receptor signaling pathways. Due to the success of muscarinic antagonists in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and the elucidation that muscarinic receptors play a role in airway remodeling, muscarinic receptors represent an attractive therapeutic target in asthma. Although short-acting muscarinic antagonists are currently limited to their use in acute asthma and as alternative bronchodilators in individuals who experience side effects with β2-agonists, recent clinical trials indicate that the long-acting muscarinic antagonist, tiotropium, deserves consideration as a potential therapeutic agent for select populations. The continued evolution of anticholinergic therapy in asthma will require appropriately designed studies to assess mechanisms, efficacy and safety in asthma.

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