New evidence on benefits of formoterol for asthma, but there are still unanswered questions

Key message: The addition of new evidence to this review has shown a significant reduction in asthma-related non-fatal serious adverse events in adults with asthma who are given regular formoterol as well as inhaled steroids.

When asthma is not well controlled by low-dose inhaled corticosteroids (ICS), many asthma guidelines recommend adding another type of medicine, a long-acting beta2-agonist, such as formoterol. These have been shown to improve lung function, quality of life and asthma symptoms but there are concerns about their safety when used regularly. Continue reading

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Taking antibiotics? Probiotics can cut your risk of diarrhoea

Key message: moderate quality evidence suggests that probiotics are both safe and effective for preventing Clostridium difficile-associated diarrhoea.

It’s no surprise that a new Cochrane review made headline news on the BBC’s health pages last week and was featured in many other health news reports too, as its focus was the use of probiotics to prevent Clostridium difficile-associated diarrhoea (CDAD) in people taking antibiotics. Continue reading