Asthma Rescue Medication Airsupra is Now Available

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Airsupra is an anti-inflammatory rescue medication that can treat the symptoms of asthma while helping to prevent an attack.

AstraZeneca has launched Airsupra (albuterol/budesonide) as an as-needed treatment to reduce the risk of exacerbations in people with asthma aged 18 years and older. Airsupra is a first-in-class, pressurized metered-dose inhaler combination rescue medication containing albuterol, a short-acting beta2-agonist, and budesonide, an anti-inflammatory inhaled corticosteroid. It was developed by AstraZeneca and Avillion.

A spokesperson for AstraZeneca would not provide a price for Airsupra but said the price reflects the value of the product. AstraZeneca is offering a copay assistance program where eligible commercially insured patients may pay as little as $0. For patients with commercial insurance who do not cover Airsupra or who have restriction such step-edit, prior authorization, or NDC block, they may be able to pay as low as $15 for each inhaler. The copay program is managed by ConnectiveRx.

Airsupra is now covered on the national formularies of the three largest commercial PBMs: by Express Scripts, CVS Caremark, and Optum/United Healthcare, according to the AstraZeneca spokesperson.

Priya Bansal, M.D.

Priya Bansal, M.D.

“For more than five decades, the medical community has used SABA-only (short-acting beta agonist) rescue, which does not address the inflammatory component of asthma,” Priya Bansal, M.D., CEO, Asthma and Allergy Wellness Center in St. Charles, Ill., said in a press release. “The MANDALA study has demonstrated how these patients can benefit from an as-needed anti-inflammatory rescue to treat their symptoms while helping to prevent an attack even if they are on inhaled corticosteroid-containing maintenance therapy.

Airsupra was approved in January 2023 based on results from the MANDALA and DENALI phase 3 trials. In MANDALA, Airsupra significantly reduced the risk of severe exacerbations compared with albuterol in patients with moderate to severe asthma when used as an as-needed rescue medication in response to symptoms.

In the secondary endpoint of mean annualized total systemic corticosteroid exposure, Airsupra demonstrated a significant reduction compared with albuterol at the approved dose of 180mcg albuterol/160mcg budesonide. In DENALI, Airsupra significantly improved lung function compared were the individual components albuterol and budesonide in patients with mild-to-moderate asthma.

Results from the MANDALA trial were published in the New England Journal of Medicine in May 2022.

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