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Steroids Critical to Asthma Management

Those who miss doses likelier to be hospitalized, study finds

FRIDAY, Dec. 10, 2004 (HealthDayNews) -- Asthma patients who don't stick to their inhaled steroid medication regimens probably account for the majority of asthma-related hospital admissions, a new study contends.

Researchers at the Henry Ford Health System in Detroit and the Medical College of Georgia examined the medical records of 405 asthma patients and found that overall adherence to inhaled steroids was about 50 percent.

Patients who missed one out of four doses of their inhaled steroid had doubled their risk of ending up in hospital. The study also found that 60 percent of asthma-related hospitalizations could have been prevented if asthma patients had taken their inhaled steroids as directed.

Poor adherence to inhaled steroid regimens was also associated with emergency department visits and the need for oral steroid medications, which are often used to treat more severe asthma.

The researchers suggest that improved education about the importance of proper adherence to inhaled steroid medications may result in better asthma control.

The study appears in the December issue of the Journal of Allergy & Clinical Immunology.

More information

The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology has more about asthma medications.

SOURCE: American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, news release, Dec. 6, 2004
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