Canadian family physician Médecin de famille canadien, 2006; 52 doi:
Affiliation: Calgary COPD and Asthma Program, Canada
Abstract: OBJECTIVE: To determine whether there was any change in indices of asthma control in population-based samples of patients with asthma between 1997 and 2002.
DESIGN: We examined asthma control and treatment in the community using two cross-sectional studies carried out 5 years apart in 1997 and 2002. Pharmacists handed out the questionnaires to patients with asthma; patients completed the questionnaires themselves.
SETTING: Community pharmacies in Alberta.
PARTICIPANTS: Patients with physician-confirmed asthma attending pharmacies to fill prescriptions for asthma medications.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE: Asthma control.
RESULTS: In 1997 and 2002, 301 and 340 completed questionnaires were received, respectively. Mean age of respondents was 42 and 39 years and the female-to-male ratio was 1.3:1 and 1.4:1, respectively. Overall asthma control was achieved by 27% (1997) and 31% (2002) of subjects, a non-significant change. Regular inhaled corticosteroid use was reported by 63% (1997) and 65% (2002) of subjects; mean daily dose of inhaled corticosteroids reported decreased from 920 mug in 1997 to 765 mug in 2002 (P < .02), which might reflect adoption of the newer guideline recommendation for lower-dose inhaled corticosteroids in combination therapy rather than a decrease in severity of asthma. Fewer respondents reported being hospitalized for asthma in 2002 (P = .02). Self-management plans were used by 7% and 5% of subjects in 1997 and 2002, respectively.
CONCLUSION: In general, asthma control and use of inhaled corticosteroids was similar in 1997 and 2002. There was no evidence that patient education on asthma had increased. Asthma control was poor in 1997 and had not improved by 2002.
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