High-risk asthma patients reduce asthma medication use in days after hospitalization
Dec 16, 2004 - 4:36:38 PM
In a study of high-risk patients with severe asthma who were hospitalized for serious exacerbations, researchers showed that within 7 days of discharge their use of prescribed inhaled corticosteroids and oral steroids had fallen rapidly to approximately 50 percent of their prescribed dose. The investigators measured post-hospital adherence in 52 inner city asthmatics by means of electronic medication monitors, self-report, canister weight (for inhaled corticosteroids) and pill counts (for oral corticosteroids). The researchers noted that their results provided strong evidence that even under optimal conditions with free medications and intensive inpatient education, discontinuation of both inhaled corticosteroids and oral corticosteroids was common within 7 days of discharge from the hospital.
The participants were almost exclusively African-American with 65 percent (34 patients) being female, and almost half having a history of near-fatal asthma. For the most part, they were unemployed and unmarried. Asthma affects 15 to 20 million people in the U.S. Although effective medical therapies are available, the illness results in severe asthma exacerbations, causing 465,000 hospitalizations and 5,000 deaths per year.
Hospitalization and death related to asthma exacerbations are two to three times more likely among African-Americans and minority patients, according to the authors. The research appears in the second issue for December 2004 of the American Thoracic Society's peer-reviewed American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.
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