Inhaler devices for treating asthma or relieve symptoms – or both in the one device.
At least 12 per cent of New Zealanders – around 600,000 people – have asthma, which causes wheezing and other breathing problems.
The New Zealand-led study of mild asthma in adults found that patients were "as needed" as well as many asthma episodes of healthcare difficulties – called "exacerbations" ̵
So they had 56 per cent fewer severe exacerbations than those using just the reliever; and 60 per cent less than those using inhalers – a Pulmicort preventer twice a day plus puffs as-needed from a Ventolin reliever.
"The findings from the study are exciting and have the potential to be a game changer in the way doctors treat mild asthma, "said Wellington researcher Professor Richard Beasley of Wellington's Otago University, published in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine.
The trial included patients from New Zealand, Australia, United Kingdom, and Britain for the first three months of a short-acting reliever inhaler.
The researchers said the current practice with mild asthma was to prescribe a preventer containing corticosteroid for twice-daily use
But many doctors were reluctant to prescribe prevention and patients were unlikely to use them
Beasley said: "The greater benefit was achieved."
"This novel approach simplifies treatment as it does not require patients to take a respiratory inhaler twice daily even when they have no symptoms. "
" With a combined preventer-reliever inhaler, patients have more personal and immediate control over their asthma management.
Asthma and Respiratory Foundation's medical director Dr Stuart Jones, a respiratory physician, said the Beasley study would lead to a re-think of the health problem New Zealand guidelines on the management of mild asthma.
"For those with mild asthma, implementation of the study's findings will lead to a reduction in exacerbations, which means less time feeling unwell and more time doing what you enjoy in life, all while using inhaled steroids sparingly. "
He said Symbicort is state-funded in New Zealand but some people are struggling to use the device Another, called Vannair, which contained the same medications Regular use, not for as-needed use.
Symbicort and Pulmicort, AstraZeneca and the Health Research Council of New Zealand.  An asthma patient
Sarah Harris, 39, a laundromat installer and mother of two, of Kingseat, south of the Manukau Harbor, has had mild asthma since she was pregnant with son Cole, who is now 14.
"Cole and Sarah's husband, Conan, so have the breathing disorder."
"I don ' t get it very often, "Harris said. Hospital treatment has never been required.
She uses Flixotide inhaled corticosteroid preventer twice a day, and occasionally a Ventolin reliever inhaler. The Ventolin sees more regular use, however, when she catches a cold.
"If it's really bad, I just can not do anything and I usually end up with prednisone [oral steroid medicine]."
Cole has been prescribed a Symbicort combination medication inhaler , two doses a day, and Sarah was interested in the study's findings on using the inhaler on an as-needed basis to treat mild asthma.
"That would be helpful for a lot of people," she said.