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September 24, 2001

Two Studies Demonstrate Discrepancies Between Asthma Patients' Expectations and Standards of Care


 (SafetyAlerts) -  The results of two patient surveys, one UK and one pan-European, have shown that whilst the majority of asthma patients are satisfied with the level of care they are receiving, many are in fact accepting sup-optimal treatment which is having a detrimental impact upon their quality of life(1), (2).

These findings provide strong evidence that the levels of asthma control, both in the UK and Europe, continue to fall short of the goals set out in international guidelines(3). The GINA guidelines define a well-controlled patient as one which has minimal or no symptoms, has minimal asthma attacks, does not need to use rescue treatment, shows normal nearly lung function and is free from limitations on physical activity(3).

The UK AstraZeneca-sponsored survey - Living & Breathing - Putting Patients First in Asthma - surveyed 517 people with mild to moderate asthma. The findings revealed that 91% felt that their asthma was under control, despite the fact that two thirds (66%) experienced symptoms at least two to three times a week(1). Of these, 41% of respondents experienced symptoms daily(1). The majority of patients (86%) also recognised that their asthma varies in severity throughout the year.(1)

The pan-European survey - RESPONSE (Respiratory Patients Opinion Survey) - surveyed 454 asthmatics and parents of asthmatic children aged 12-16 years. Eighty three per cent of respondents described their own or their child's asthma as 'quite well' or 'very well controlled(2). Nevertheless, more than two thirds had suffered symptoms such as coughing, wheezing or difficulty breathing in the previous week(2).

The surveys also demonstrated that people with asthma wanted to be more in control of their condition. They wanted access to simple, effective treatment regimens that fitted in with their lifestyles, which involve taking fewer drugs and using fewer inhalers. In both the UK and pan-European surveys, around 80% patients found the idea of a reduced number of inhalers appealing(1), (2). However, while patients want to take fewer drugs and use less inhalers, when they visit their GP following an exacerbation they often receive more treatments(2).

According to Dr Martyn Partridge, Consultant Chest Physician at Whipps Cross University Hospital and Medical Advisor to the National Asthma Campaign in the UK, this research generates important questions about how asthma treatment is prescribed and delivered. "This research clearly shows we have a long way to go. Patients need simple, but effective tailored treatment regimens that fit with their daily lives. With new treatments such as the steroid / long acting bronchodilator combination, which contains a preventer and controller treatment in a single inhaler, we now have the ability to further improve the level of care we can provide to asthma patients. We must ensure that whenever possible their lives aren't limited by their condition," he said.

Symbicort(r) (budesonide/eformoterol) Turbohaler(r), the new maintenance therapy for adult asthma from AstraZeneca, contains the inhaled corticosteroid, budesonide, and the fast-acting and long-acting bronchodilator, eformoterol, in a single inhaler. The dose can be adjusted according to the patient's symptom control.

Source: PRNewswire

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