Beta2-agonists: Friend or foe?

Jean G. Ford, Javed Iqbal, Yisa Sunmonu

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


This review summarizes the effects of beta2-agonists on asthma severity. There has been a controversy as to whether the regularly scheduled use of beta2-adrenergic agonists increases the risk of adverse outcomes in asthma. A number of epidemiological and clinical studies have found an association between the regularly scheduled use of beta-agonist drugs and increased risk of asthma morbidity and mortality. However, this observation has not been consistent across studies. We discuss here the potential mechanisms to explain the relationship between the use of beta-agonists on a regularly scheduled basis and adverse outcomes of asthma therapy; and we provide a brief review of the effect of genetic diversity at the beta2-adrenergic receptor locus on asthma severity. Overall, the evidence suggests that the beta2-agonists in current use in the United States are generally safe and effective; friends, not foes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)369-375
Number of pages7
JournalSeminars in Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1 2002


  • Asthma
  • Beta2-adrenergic agonists
  • Genetics
  • Pharmacological
  • Receptors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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