To determine whether there was any change in indices of asthma control in
population-based samples of patients with asthma between 1997 and 2002.
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.
Community pharmacies in Alberta.
Patients with physician-confirmed asthma attending pharmacies to fill
prescriptions for asthma medications.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE
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 μg in 1997 to 765 μg 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.
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.