Effects of β2-agonists on airway tone and bronchial responsiveness

Michael J. Larj, Eugene R. Bleecker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


In evaluating the clinical consequences of β2-agonist therapy, it is important to consider the possibility of reduced asthma control and increased bronchial responsiveness with regular or long-term use. Some studies have noted reductions in protective effects but not complete loss of protection with short-acting β2-agonist therapy. These reductions vary, depending on the use of nonspecific, indirect, or immunologic challenges, but it appears there is a greater loss of protective effect against indirect stimuli. Tachyphylaxis to the bronchodilatatory effects of long-acting β2-agonists appears to be minimal. Individuals homozygous for arginine at locus 16 of the β2-adrenergic receptor gene have a decline in pulmonary function during β2-agonist use, and they are at greater risk of asthma exacerbations during β2-agonist therapy than patients with other genotypes. Important questions for further research are whether small differences in tachyphylaxis and bronchoprotection have relevant clinical effects and to what extent tachyphylaxis and tolerance to bronchoprotection are caused by pharmacogenetic interactions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S304-S312
JournalJournal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology
Issue number6 SUPPL.
StatePublished - Dec 1 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • Asthma
  • Combination therapy
  • Corticosteroid
  • Pharmacogenetics
  • Tachyphylaxis
  • β-agonist

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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