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Asthma is a relatively common condition affecting approximately 10 percent of the U.S. population it a variety of levels of severity. It is characterized by the reduction of lung capacity and difficulty breathing, and can be triggered by temperature, exertion, environmental factors or the body’s own immune response.

Advair is the blend of fluticasone/salmeterol marketed by GlaxoSmithKline for the treatment of asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Fluticasone is a corticosteroid that acts as an anti-inflammatory, while salmeterol functions as an antihistamine, reducing blockage of the airway. It comes in a variety of forms—pills, aerosol inhalers or pill-distributing “diskus” devices.

Common side effects are relatively minor—yeast infection, bronchial irritation and irregular heartbeat. The drug could also increase risk of risk of osteoporosis, cataracts and glaucoma.

Advair is one of the few major drugs that has lost patent protection but does not have a generic equivalent in the United States. Some other drugs prescribed for asthma include corticosteroids like Flovent, leukotriene modifiers—which block the body’s asthmatic immune system response—like Singulair, and long-acting beta agonists like Serevent, which dilate the brochial tubes in the lungs.

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