Serevent is the trade name for salmeterol, manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline in an aerosol inhaler form. Salmeterol is a bronchodilator that relaxes the muscles in the walls of the bronchial tubes, allowing easy flow of air in and out of the lungs in order to improve breathing, treat wheezing, and shortness of breath in those with asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), chronic bronchitis, and emphysema. It is also used to prevent bronchospasm resulting from rigorous exercise. Serevent is intended for long-term prevention of symptoms and should not be used more than twice a day and cannot be used to treat acute asthma attacks because it will not work fast enough.
However, a recent study showed that Serevent users are three times more likely to die from asthma-related deaths. As a result, the FDA required GlaxoSmithKline to place a black box warning (the highest level of warning) on all Serevent product packaging and marketing materials.