GlobalData analysed the number of clinical trials examining asthma drug treatments with start dates between 1 January 2010 and 11 February 2019.

Asthma is a long-term inflammatory lung condition that causes difficulty in breathing and can affect people of all ages. Common symptoms include wheezing, breathlessness, tightness in the chest, and persistent coughing.

Clinical trials that focus on asthma treatments are pivotal, as there is no long-term effective therapy for the condition.

The majority of clinical trials were in Phase II (35.9%), with industry sponsors accounting for 61.1% of trials conducted. A significant proportion of clinical trials were conducted in the US (38.5%) followed by the UK (19.2%).

Top five asthma drugs by percentage of clinical trials

Fluticasone propionate plus salmeterol xinafoate had the highest percentage of trials within a nine-year span (26.4%). This treatment was first submitted to the US Food and Drug Administration by GlaxoSmithKline and was approved in 1999.

Fluticasone propionate acts as an anti-inflammatory drug, decreasing inflammation in the lungs, while salmeterol xinafoate is a long-acting beta adrenoceptor agonist that helps expand the trachea.

AstraZeneca ’s budesonide plus formoterol fumarate combination followed with 24.3% of clinical trials. Budesonide has an effect on the major mediators of trachea inflammation while formoterol fumarate is a beta receptor agonist, which increases cyclic adenonsine monophosphate (cAMP) levels directly, causing relaxation of bronchial smooth muscle tissue.

Montelukast sodium (21.7%), omalizumab (18.7%), and flovent (8.9%) were the remaining top five asthma drugs, by the number of clinical trials. These drugs are all also immediate therapy solutions for the acute treatment of asthma.

Top 5 drugs investigated for asthma

Source: GlobalData