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Dr John LaPook: After two days of emotional testimony(1), an FDA advisory panel(2) decided late
this afternoon that two popular asthma medicines Serevent® and Foradil® are not safe. The fear?
They may cause patients to overdose or delay(3) treatment.
Dr John Jenkins: The concern(4) for these drugs is that they may actually worsen(5) asthma, rarely in
some patients, to the point that actually patients have died.
LaPook: The committee looked at medications containing two components: steroids and long-acting
bronchodilators. Bronchodilators open up breathing passages that become narrowed during an
asthma attack. Steroids lower the inflammation that causes the narrowing. The committee decided
medications containing a long-acting bronchodilator must also contain a steroid. Serevent® and
Foradil® do not.
After vigorous debate, the committee decided: Serevent® and Foradil® are not worth the risk for
any age group, but they voted to allow the combination drugs Simbicort® and Advair® after hearing
impassioned(6) testimony by people like Ann Dorsey.
Ann Dorsey: I handed him lifeless to the paramedics.
LaPook: Ann pleaded that Advair® has been a lifesaver for her son.
Julian Dorsey: When you're having an attack, it feels like something is crushing(7) your chest and it
makes it really hard to breathe.
LaPook: Julian will be able to continue taking Advair® but patients taking either Serevent® or
Foradil® should talk to their doctors.
Dr Meyer Kattan: I think it would be a mistake for somebody who's currently on these
medications to stop the medications without consulting with their physician.
LaPook: This was one of the most contentious(8) and emotional debates at the FDA in a long time,
Catie Couric: And John, what about patients who can use these medications responsibly, in the
right way, isn't this a bit unfair(9) to them?
LaPook: Well, that's exactly what a lung doctor I spoke to this afternoon said after the ruling(10). He
was upset because he thought, I can prescribe these medications safely to my patients, I just need to
sit down with them and explain simply how to use them, and he said, I don't want to have to practice
medicine with one hand tied(11) behind my back.
Couric: John LaPook, thank you. For more information about treating asthma, you can go to our
partner in health news, www.webmd.com and simply search "asthma".
PdlG, Medical English Department, Dijon 2009 Lexical helpline:
1. A testimony: statement given to support a fact or a claim
2. An advisory panel: a commission that gives advice on an issue
3. Delay (v): wait until later before doing something
4. A concern: a worry
5. Worsen (v): have a deteriorating effect
6. Impassioned (adj): expressing strong feelings
7. Crush (v): compress
8. Contentious (adj): creating disagreement
9. Unfair (adj): not just
10. A ruling: a decision by authority
11. Tie (v): restrict
1. Cette décision a été prise par le comité consultatif après avoir entendu de nombreux 2. Les corticoïdes doivent être combinés aux bronchodilatateurs pour être efficaces. 3. J'ai les mains liées. Je ne peux pas continuer à travailler dans ces conditions. PdlG, Medical English Department, Dijon 2009 PdlG, Medical English Department, Dijon 2009
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