In the Treatment of Asthma, Merck’s Singulair Accounts for More Than a Quarter of First-Line Maintenance Therapy

Quarterly Treatment Algorithm Analysis for Asthma Now Available from Decision Resources

BURLINGTON, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Decision Resources, one of the world’s leading research and advisory firms focusing on pharmaceutical and healthcare issues, finds that Merck’s Singulair (montelukast), a leukotriene antagonist, accounts for more than a quarter of first-line maintenance therapy among newly diagnosed asthma patients. Analysis of U.S. patient-level claims data from Treatment Algorithms in Asthma also finds that more than half of newly diagnosed asthma patients that move to the second line of therapy within a year of diagnosis are treated with Singulair. Guidelines suggest adding either an inhaled corticosteroid (ICS) or leukotriene antagonist to short-acting beta agonist (SABA) therapy for persistent asthmatics.

“Insight from thought leaders suggests that primary care physicians are driving first-line use of Singulair because of its convenient, once-daily, oral dosing and favorable safety profile,” said Decision Resources Analyst Amanda Puffer, M.Sc. “Leukotriene antagonists are also preferred for pediatric patients who may have difficulty using an inhaler, and for their safety profile.”

Examination of U.S. patient-level claims data also reveals that a similar percentage of newly diagnosed asthma patients are using ICSs as are using long-acting beta2 agonist (LABA)/ICS combinations in the first line of maintenance treatment. Treatment guidelines recommend patients step up to LABA-containing therapy only if they are not adequately controlled on an ICS alone. Similar patient share of these two drug classes in the first line of therapy suggests physicians are comfortable using LABA/ICS combinations as a first-line maintenance therapy.

The analysis is part of Decision Resources’ Treatment Algorithms series. Through examination of patient-level claims data, the Treatment Algorithms series provides exceptional insight into physicians’ prescribing trends and the factors that drive therapy choice, from diagnosis through multiple courses of treatment, for a specific disease. The Treatment Algorithms series is updated quarterly and allows for longitudinal analysis of prescribing trends.

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Decision Resources
Lisa Osgood, 781-993-2606
[email protected]
Decision Resources Group
Christopher Comfort, 781-993-2597
[email protected]

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