Mild Asthma Patients Over-Medicated

Researchers find inhaled corticosteroid and long-acting beta agonist (ICS/LABA) combination products are commonly used by patients with mild asthma, despite the lack of evidence or guidelines for such use.

A new study presented at the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology annual meeting in Phoenix, Nov. 11-16, found treatment with ICS/LABA combination therapy was associated with significantly higher asthma-related drug costs when compared to ICS therapy alone. Asthma-related medical costs, number of oral steroid claims per patient, and professional time billed to lung-related emergency department visits or hospitalizations are similar between treatment groups. “Findings confirm that ICS/LABA combination use is prevalent in mild asthma patients and is associated with increased asthma-related pharmacy and total healthcare costs with no observed benefit for patients,” reported the study’s authors.

Title: Overuse of Inhaled Corticosteroid and Long-Acting Beta Agonist Combination Therapy in Patients with Mild Asthma
Lead Author: Tom Manley, RPh
Co-Author: Allergist Luis Salmun, MD, ACAAI Member

By the numbers:
Almost $20 billion is spent annually to treat asthma. Direct costs are $14.7 billion of that total and indirect cost such as lost productivity are $5 billion. Prescription drugs represent the largest single direct medical expenditure related to asthma, over $6 billion. As asthma specialists, allergists have consistently shown they can provide effective, economical asthma treatment. (Reported in the ACAAI Asthma Management and the Allergist: Better Outcomes at Lower Cost)

The ACAAI is a professional medical organization headquartered in Arlington Heights, Ill., that promotes excellence in the practice of the subspecialty of allergy and immunology. The College, comprising more than 5,000 allergists-immunologists and related health care professionals, fosters a culture of collaboration and congeniality in which its members work together and with others toward the common goals of patient care, education, advocacy and research.

Follow the ACCAI annual meeting on Twitter at #ACAAI2010.

The ACAAI Press Room is located in Room 121B at the Phoenix Convention Center, November 12 - 15, 2010; phone 602-514-5360, .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


Source:  American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI)

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