AstraZeneca supports new global recommendations on asthma care

GINA Pocket Guide for Asthma Management and Prevention recommends low dose inhaled corticosteroid and formoterol combination across asthma severities


12 April 2019

AstraZeneca welcomes the new 2019 GINA Pocket Guide for Asthma Management and Prevention which recommends the use of low dose inhaled corticosteroid (ICS)-formoterol combination therapy as-needed as the preferred reliever therapy across all asthma severities. Short-acting beta-2 agonist (SABA) monotherapy as-needed is no longer recommended as a preferred reliever therapy.1

GINA (the Global Initiative for Asthma) was established to increase awareness about asthma among health professionals, public health authorities and the community, and to improve prevention and management through a coordinated worldwide effort.1 GINA aims to translate scientific evidence into improved asthma care and make recommendations for clinical practice.2

Alex de Giorgio-Miller, Therapy Area Vice President, Respiratory, Global Medical Affairs said: “AstraZeneca welcomes the new 2019 GINA guidance which recommends low dose ICS-formoterol as-needed as the preferred reliever therapy to reduce the risk of serious asthma attacks. With more than 176 million asthma attacks experienced each year, people with asthma require treatment approaches that address the inflammatory nature of the disease.”

The 2019 GINA recommendations change decades of asthma care. SABA reliever therapy is routinely prescribed by physicians and relied upon by patients for symptom relief. However, use of a SABA inhaler during or after a worsening of asthma symptoms does not address the underlying inflammation,3 leaving patients at risk of asthma attacks. The preferred reliever recommendation is now a combination of an ICS (an anti-inflammatory therapy) to address the underlying inflammation, and the long-acting beta-2 agonist (LABA), formoterol, which has a fast onset of action.1,4 These recommendations are for adults and adolescents with asthma.


About asthma

Asthma is a common chronic respiratory disease, and it affects the health and day-to-day lives of as many as 339 million adults and children worldwide.5 It is characterised by recurrent breathlessness and wheezing which varies over time, and which varies in severity and frequency from person to person.6

Asthma is a chronic, variable inflammatory disease and all patients are at risk of severe asthma attacks regardless of their disease severity, adherence to treatment or level of control.4,7,8 Asthma patients are frequently under-prescribed or they under-use anti-inflammatory ‘preventer’ therapy and instead over-rely on SABA reliever therapy which can mask a worsening of symptoms.9,10,11,12,13 

About AstraZeneca in Respiratory Disease

Respiratory is one of AstraZeneca’s main therapy areas, and our medicines reached more than 18 million patients as maintenance therapy in 2018. AstraZeneca’s aim is to transform asthma and COPD treatment through inhaled combinations at the core of care, biologics for the unmet needs of specific patient populations, and scientific advancements in disease modification.

About AstraZeneca

AstraZeneca is a global, science-led biopharmaceutical company that focuses on the discovery, development and commercialisation of prescription medicines, primarily for the treatment of diseases in three therapy areas - Oncology, Cardiovascular, Renal & Metabolism and Respiratory. AstraZeneca operates in over 100 countries and its innovative medicines are used by millions of patients worldwide. For more information, please visit and follow us on Twitter @AstraZeneca.



Media Relations



Gonzalo Viña


+44 203 749 5916

Rob Skelding


+44 203 749 5821

Rebecca Einhorn


+1 301 518 4122

Matt Kent


+44 203 749 5906

Jennifer Hursit


+44 203 749 5762

Christina Malmberg Hägerstrand


+46 8 552 53 106

Michele Meixell


+1 302 885 2677


Investor Relations



Thomas Kudsk Larsen


+44 203 749 5712

Henry Wheeler


+44 203 749 5797

Christer Gruvris

BioPharma - Cardiovascular; Metabolism

+44 203 749 5711

Nick Stone

BioPharma - Respiratory; Renal

+44 203 749 5716

Josie Afolabi

Other medicines

+44 203 749 5631

Craig Marks

Finance; Fixed Income

+44 7881 615 764

Jennifer Kretzmann

Retail Investors; Corporate Access

+44 203 749 5824

US toll-free


+1 866 381 72 77





1. 2019 GINA Pocket guide for Asthma Management and Prevention, Global Initiative for Asthma, 2019. Available from: Accessed April 2019.

2. Global Initiative for Asthma. Global Strategy for Asthma Management and Prevention, 2018. Available from:

3. O’Byrne P, Jenkins C, Bateman E. The paradoxes of asthma management: time for a new approach? Eur Respir J. 2017; 50: 1701103.

4. Olaguibel JM, Quirce S, Julia B, et al. Measurement of asthma control according to Global Initative for Asthma guidelines: a comparison with the Asthma Control Questionnaire. Respir Res. 2012,13:50

5. The Global Asthma Network. The Global Asthma Report 2018. [Online]. Available at: Accessed March 2019.

6. From: Section 2, Definition, Pathophysiology and Pathogenesis of Asthma, and Natural History of Asthma. Expert Panel Report 3: Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Management of Asthma. National Asthma Education and Prevention Program, Third Expert Panel on the Diagnosis and Management of Asthma. Bethesda (MD): National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (US). 2007.

7. Price D, Fletcher M, van der Molen T. Asthma control and management in 8,000 European patients: the REcognise Asthma and LInk to Symptoms and Experience (REALISE) survey. NPJ Prim Care Respir Med. 2014;24:14009.

8. Bateman ED, Hurd SS, Barnes PJ, et al. Global strategy for asthma management and prevention: GINA executive summary. Eur Respir J. 2008;31:143–178.

9. Humbert M, Andersson TL, Buhl R. Budesonide/formoterol for maintenance and reliever therapy in the management of moderate to severe asthma. Allergy, 2008; 63: 1567–1580.

10. Rabe KF, Vermeire PA, Soriano JB, Maier WC. Clinical management of asthma in 1999: the asthma insights and reality in Europe study. Eur Respir J. 2000; 16: 802–807.

11. Tattersfield AE, Postma DS, Barnes PJ, et al. on behalf of the FACET International Study Group. Exacerbations of asthma: a descriptive study of 425 severe exacerbations. Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 1999; 160: 594–9.

12. Adams RJ, Fuhlbrigge A, Guilbert T, et al. Inadequate use of asthma medication in the United States: results of the asthma in America national population survey. J Allergy Clin Immunol 2002; 110: 58-64.

13. Partridge MR, van der Molen T, Myrseth SE, Busse WW. Attitudes and actions of asthma patients on regular maintenance therapy: the INSPIRE study. BMC Pulm Med. 2006; 6: 13.