Pharmacology of Prophylactic Anti-Asthma Drugs

  • L. G. Garland
Part of the Handbook of Experimental Pharmacology book series (HEP, volume 98)


Among the different classes of drugs used in the treatment of asthma, the bronchodilators (β2-adrenoceptor agonists, muscarinic receptor antagonists, methylxanthines) bring symptomatic relief but contribute little to ameliorating the underlying bronchial inflammation. Glucocorticoids (see Chap. 8) exert a potent antiinflammatory effect and, particularly when inhaled, have both therapeutic and prophylactic value. The drug that is now accepted clinically as having a prophylactic effect in asthma, whilst only rarely bringing symptomatic relief, is cromoglycate; the recently introduced nedocromil is another example of the same class of compound. Ketotifen has a different pharmacological profile and has gained some acceptance as a prophylactic agent in asthma. This chapter will only review the pharmacology of drugs in clinical use (cromoglycate, nedocromil, ketotifen), although there is much current research directed towards finding other new types of antiinflammatory agents to be used as first-line durgs in mild asthma, leaving glucocorticoids for treatment of severe asthma.


Mast Cell Histamine Release Allergy Clin Immunol Sodium Cromoglycate Nedocromil Sodium 
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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1991

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  • L. G. Garland

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