Medical Disorders
Basic InformationLookupsLatest News
What Was More Deadly for New Yorkers – COVID-19 or the 1918 Flu?U.S. Coronavirus Death Tally Hits New High for SummerPfizer's COVID Vaccine Shows 'Robust' Results in Early TrialFrequent COVID Tests Key to College Reopening: ExpertsMany Community Outbreaks of COVID Traced to Restaurants, BarsPut the Brakes on Driving After a ConcussionStrict, Costly Measures Needed to Reopen Schools: StudyCOVID-19 Risk Up to 7 Times Higher for Young VapersAnother COVID Hazard: False InformationHospitals Full, Doctors Treated Her Severe COVID-19 at HomeFDA Approves First Oral Drug for Spinal Muscular AtrophyCOVID-19 Fears Stop Americans From Seeking Help for Heart EmergenciesAHA News: What Do Heart Patients Need to Know About COVID-19 Now?Have Diabetes? Don't Lose Sight of Danger to Your EyesBlood Test Might Spot Most Dangerous COVID-19 CasesAs Schools Reopen, Report Shows 97,000 U.S. Kids Infected With COVID in Late JulyWhat Parents Need to Know About Teens and ConcussionsBaby's Meningitis Case Highlights Growing Danger of Antibiotic ResistanceAs in Adults, Minority Kids Hit Hardest by COVID-19Simple Test Shows Which Face Masks Are BestBeware of Hand Sanitizers Containing MethanolWhat Athletes Should Know About COVID-19, Heart Damage and Working OutCOVID-19 Causing More Stress in America Than Other Nations: SurveyWill Your Kid Play School Sports This Fall? Here's Some Guidance on Doing It SafelyScientists Call for Broader Use of Faster COVID TestsPeople Are Dying, Going Blind After Drinking Hand Sanitizer, CDC WarnsMore Social Media Use, More Fake COVID NewsSkip the 'Maskne,' Not the MaskObesity Ups Odds for Severe COVID-19, But Age MattersSeven States Join Pact to Speed Coronavirus TestingStudy Casts Doubt on Value of Cholesterol DrugsCOVID-19 Fears Had Sick, Injured Americans Avoiding ERsCancer Diagnoses Plunge as Americans Avoid Screening During PandemicMysterious Paralyzing Illness in Kids Is Set to Return, CDC WarnsMany Older Americans Staying Strong in the PandemicCoronavirus Cases Now Climbing in the MidwestCould the First Drug That Slows Arthritis Be Here?Schools Can Reopen Safely If Precautions in Place, Australian Study ShowsFace Masks, Yes, But Don't Forget Hand-Washing TooEven With PPE, Risk of COVID-19 Still High for Frontline WorkersCoronavirus Pandemic Becoming Far More Widespread, Birx SaysGuard Against Lyme Disease This SummerKids 'Efficient' Transmitters as COVID-19 Raced Through a Georgia Summer CampCollege Students Will Need COVID Tests Every 2-3 Days for Campus Safety: StudyAHA News: Sustained High Blood Pressure May Damage Brain VesselsAnother Side Effect of COVID-19 -- Lasting Hearing Problems?Pandemic Could Complicate Hurricane SeasonStudy Reveals How Coronavirus Travels IndoorsNew Study Sheds Doubt on Notion Kids Aren't COVID-19 SpreadersAHA News: Are Virtual Doctor Visits Safe for Discharged Heart Failure Patients?
Questions and AnswersVideosLinksBook Reviews
Related Topics

Men's Health
Women's Health

Using Fewer Asthma Meds May Be Safe Option for Some

HealthDay News
by By Serena Gordon
HealthDay Reporter
Updated: Jul 21st 2020

new article illustration

TUESDAY, July 21, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- People with asthma often need several medications to control their wheezing, but new research suggests that some can use less without suffering an asthma flare.

Yet that's not what usually happens, the researchers said.

"Stepping down [using less medication] occurred infrequently, but when it did occur, there was no increased risk of asthma attacks and people did not use their reliever medication more than before," said Chloe Bloom, lead author of a study published July 21 in the journal PLOS Medicine.

She's a senior clinical research fellow and honorary respiratory consultant at Imperial College London in the United Kingdom.

Clinical guidelines recommend stepping down asthma medication when possible, and Bloom said doing so can save money, too.

"A cost analysis showed considerable savings if only half of all stable asthma patients on higher dose medication were stepped down," she said.

But don't ditch your inhaler or other asthma medications without talking to your doctor first. Your asthma should be well controlled before your doctor considers reducing your medications, Bloom said.

Asthma is a chronic disease of the airways. It causes coughing that's often worse at night, wheezing, chest tightness and shortness of breath, according to the U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI). More than 25 million Americans have asthma.

Treatments include "rescue" medication, such as albuterol (ProAir, Ventolin), which is given when symptoms such as wheezing occur. Controller medications, including corticosteroid inhalers like Flovent, Pulmicort and Qvar, are another treatment. These inhalers are used daily -- even when there are no symptoms -- to keep the inflammation that causes asthma flares at bay, the NHLBI said.

Other treatments include inhalers that combine long-acting bronchodilators and a corticosteroid, oral medications and newer medications called biologics.

For this study, researchers looked at data from more than 508,000 people who were treated for asthma in the United Kingdom between 2001 and 2017. Over that time, the number of people taking asthma medications increased.

And during an average seven-year follow-up, 70% of people taking them stayed on the medications.

But stepping down therapy in people who have stable asthma can be beneficial, Bloom said.

"[Benefits] include reducing the risk of side effects, reducing medication burden, reducing harm to the environment and reducing costs," she said.

To see what happens when medications are reduced, 125,000 people (average age 50) were selected from the initial study. About 40,000 ultimately stepped down their medication.

The researchers found that people who were able to reduce their medications did not have a significantly greater risk for asthma flare-ups. Step-down strategies often replaced the combo inhaler with an inhaled corticosteroid or lowered a patient's dose of inhaled corticosteroids.

"Many doctors are worried about stepping down their patients on higher asthma medication doses, but in this study we have added to the trial evidence to show that in the right patients, stepping down is safe and saves money, and will reduce the risk of side effects from long-term medication," Bloom said.

While this research was done in the United Kingdom, Bloom said the results might be similar in a U.S. population.

Dr. J. Allen Meadows, president of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, said stepping down is important, because no one should take more medicine than needed.

But he's not convinced that the findings could be replicated in the United States.

"The vast majority of asthma patients in the United States need to be stepped up on their medication, not stepped down," Meadows said. "In fact, many patients often step down on their own and end up with poorly controlled asthma."

He explained that cost and insurance issues in the United States lead some patients to fill asthma prescriptions less often than they should. And, when Americans switch to a lower-dose inhaler, the price doesn't drop, so any cost savings seen in the study might not apply in the United States, Meadows said.

Before reducing asthma medications, Meadows said it's important to see a doctor and have your lung function measured.

More information

Learn more about asthma from the U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.


Amazon Smile


Children and Adult services are available now with no wait time.  

Please contact HBH at 860-548-0101, option 2.


powered by centersite dot net