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Journal of Allergy
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 321949, 5 pages
Review Article

Can We Find Better Bronchodilators to Relieve Asthma Symptoms?

Department of Anesthesiology, College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University, 650 W 168th Street, New York, NY 10032, USA

Received 26 July 2012; Accepted 5 September 2012

Academic Editor: Yassine Amrani

Copyright © 2012 Elizabeth A. Townsend et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Bronchodilators are the first line therapy during acute asthmatic exacerbations to reverse airway obstruction primarily by relaxing airway smooth muscle. Only three categories of bronchodilators exist in clinical practice: -adrenergic agonists, anticholinergics, and methylxanthines. Each of these categories have specific drugs dating back to the early 20th century, raising the question of whether or not we can find better bronchodilators. While caffeine, theophylline, atropine, and epinephrine were the first generations of therapeutics in each of these drug classes, there is no question that improvements have been made in the bronchodilators in each of these classes. In the following editorial, we will briefly describe new classes of potential bronchodilators including: novel PDE inhibitors, natural phytotherapeutics, bitter taste receptor ligands, and chloride channel modulators, which have the potential to be used alone or in combination with existing bronchodilators to reverse acute airway obstruction in the future.