Asthma continues to be a significant health care problem, as reflected by the increasing rise in disease morbidity and mortality. Because steroids are relatively safe, clinically effective, and easy to administer, they remain the gold standard of treatment. After many decades of use, however, it is apparent that inhaled corticosteroids have failed to halt the progression of the asthma epidemic. Newer, more effective drugs are being developed to combat this disease, and the interest in developing new medications to treat allergic disease and asthma has increased exponentially. The financial burden of asthma has also been a significant motivating factor in the development of new medications. It is estimated that in 1998 the total cost of asthma on society was $11 billion . This consideration has further intensified the quest to develop more effective asthma medications. Table 1 reviews the wide array of drugs currently being investigated. With the development and approval of novel asthma treatments, millions of asthma sufferers will undoubtedly have increased therapeutic options for control of their disease in the near future.
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