Asthma is Poorly Controlled in America

Most asthma sufferers do not use controller medication

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(RxWiki News) For asthma sufferers, taking medicine is a daily routine. Surprisingly, a new study shows that nearly half of asthma sufferers are not taking controller medications.

Not taking medication to control the symptoms of persistent asthma can lead to worsening symptoms and an increased risk of going to the hospital.

Seeing a doctor and getting the proper medication may seem like it would cost more but the opposite is true. Being prepared and taking control of asthma is the most cost-effective route for any asthma sufferer.

"Talk to your doctor about what controller medication is right for you."

The study was led by Gene L. Colice, M.D., from the George Washington University School of Medicine in Washington DC along with the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology and involved 1,000 participants suffering from asthma. Researchers used the CHOICE (Comprehensive Survey of Healthcare Professionals and Asthma Patients Offering Insight on Current Treatment Gaps and Emerging Device Options) survey to measure asthma control in patients and inhaler use.

Of the patients surveyed, close to 49 percent were not using medication while those who were using medication, less than 15 percent of asthma sufferers had well-controlled asthma.

Controller medication involves any medication used to control asthma symptoms. Inhaled corticosteroids such as Flovent or something similar like Pulmicort Flexhaler or Aerobid. Combination treatments, such as Advair or Symbicort, are used alongside these controller medications.

Asthma affects over 24 million Americans, note researchers. Asthma affects seven million children and 17.5 million adults. Close to 4,000 people die from asthma each year.

Using CHOICE, 490 patients were currently not taking any type of controller medication. Among this group, around 79 percent had persistent asthma. Of the 510 people who were using controller medication, only 14.3 percent had well-controlled asthma.

Uncontrolled asthma not only affects quality of life and lung function but it also impacts the wallet of the asthma sufferer. According to researchers, citing previous studies, short-term savings by not paying for controller medication can lead to the hospital.

Emergency room visits because of asthma attacks are expensive as are the hospital stays and missed days of work.

This study was published in the March edition of Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.

The study was funded by Teva Respiratory, LLC.

Last Updated:
February 28, 2012