NewEvidence Underscores Preventive Treatment As Crucial For Asthma Management

According to the latest Philippine Consensus Report on Asthma diagnosis and management, approximately 339.4 million people worldwide suffer from asthma.[1] This makes the disease one of the leading causes of years lived with disability globally.

Like other illnesses, the first step to treating asthma is to establish a proper diagnosis. This is done through an examination of recurring symptoms and the patient’s history, or by conducting a spirometry test to look into the airway obstruction further.

Once a diagnosis has been determined, the next step is asthma management. This involves keenly following medical guidance because not all asthma patients take the same medication. Some doctors may prescribe quick-relief medicine to control the symptoms of an asthma attack, while others prescribe long-term medication to help lessen the frequency and severity of the incidents.

After receiving their treatment plan and medication, however, there is a tendency for asthma patients to cease going on annual check-ups. In Why Asthma Still Kills, the National Review of Asthma Deaths’ (NRAD) first national investigation of asthma deaths in the UK, they have noted that out of the 195 people who died from asthma during their review period, 57% were not recorded as being under specialist supervision during the 12 months prior to death.4 Behaviors like this may be attributed to many patients lack of awareness of their condition.

Additional studies also support this reality, including research on How real patients with severe asthma experience their disease. This study found that its participants underestimated their asthma severity and symptoms, resulting in disease denial and passivity. The participants also noted that they needed a comprehensive understanding of their disease from the beginning.

Knowing these realities makes proper treatment and disease awareness all the more necessary.

New evidence highlights long-term regular treatment as optimal

The latest research by Professor Dave Singh, a professor of clinical pharmacology and respiratory medicine at the University of Manchester, states that the daily usage of Inhaled corticosteroids (ICS) treatments, otherwise known as maintenance inhalers, can effectively treat immediate asthma symptoms while also providing sufficient overall disease control.

Most may think that inhalers are only necessary during asthma attacks, as opposed to a consistent form of treatment, says Professor Singh. By looking at asthma as a chronic disease, patients will be able to view their treatment as a way to address the underlying source of their conditions, he adds.

Using ICS inhalers on a regular basis has also been found to decrease the number and severity of patient asthma attacks. At the same time, it alleviates short-term symptoms like breathlessness, wheezing, or chest tightness, all in all, making it an optimal form of treatment.

Were optimistic that our research leads to a better understanding of asthma and its ideal treatment forms so that patients and their doctors can work towards improving their condition and long-term outlook, Singh added.

Supporting Singhs research is a recently published post hoc analysis of a GSK-sponsored AUSTRI study on the correlation between increased use of a reliever (albuterol) and an increased risk of asthma attacks. One of the key findings of the analysis revealed In patients with a one-year history of exacerbations, ~92% of those treated daily regimen of ICS/LABA did not exacerbate during the treatment period.