May 20, 2022

Asthma control and reliever inhaler use in patients using short-acting 2-agonists

A study carried out in pharmacies in Portugal indicated that the asthmatic population using short-acting β2 agonists (SABA) is largely uncontrolled and excessively uses reliever inhalers.

The results of the observational, cross-sectional and multicenter study were recently published in the Asthma and Allergy Journal.

Although BACAs are generally prescribed to treat episodes of exacerbation of asthma, overuse can lead to progressive worsening of the disease and overuse can increase the risk of cardiovascular problems, depression, severe exacerbations and even of deceased.

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Portuguese researchers set out to describe the population using SABA for asthma and examine patterns of its use in community pharmacy customers, as well as to identify characteristics associated with disease control and explore potential differences. between processing steps.

The study, conducted over a 2.5-month period in 2018, included 388 patients from 143 pharmacies who completed questionnaires asking for demographic and asthma-related information. Of this patient population, approximately 50.8% were males, the average age was 52, and half of the patients had never smoked.

Notably, more than half of participants reported overuse of the inhaler, indicating that they had purchased more than one cartridge of SABA in a 3-month period (65.0%) or had used the inhaler for more than 8 days in the previous 4 weeks (50.2%). . In addition, 78.7% of patients had poor overall disease control and 79.1% had poorly controlled asthma. The researchers found that the patients reporting SABA overuse were older, had a history of smoking, were retired or unemployed, and had lower levels of education. They were also more likely to have uncontrolled asthma and a history of exacerbation requiring hospitalization.

After categorizing patients according to GINA (Global Asthma Initiative) treatment stages, researchers found statistically significant differences between treatment stages in all socio-demographic characteristics, the maximum number of uses of SABA in 24 hours , self-reported disease control and history of exacerbations requiring emergency. service visits or treatment with oral corticosteroids for at least 3 days in the past 12 months.

Further analysis revealed that poor disease control was more likely in patients who reported using BACAs for more than 8 days in the previous 4 weeks and in patients with at least one exacerbation requiring corticosteroid therapy. oral for at least 3 days during the previous 12 months.

“The results of this study can help policy makers and different healthcare professionals to develop strategies to improve asthma management in Portugal,” the authors concluded.

Disclosure: This research was funded by AstraZeneca, Portugal. Please see the original reference for a full list of disclosures.


Romão M, Godinho AR, Teixeira PM, et al. Characteristics of users of asthma relief and control inhalers: a cross-sectional multicenter study in Portuguese community pharmacies. J Asthma allergy. 2021; 14: 943-954. doi: 10.2147 / JAA.S315678