Objective: to assess the effects of an educational program in asthmatic patients, following treatment readjustment.
Methods: moderate to severe asthmatic adults underwent a run-in period (up to 45 days) in order to optimize their treatment. Patients were then randomized to an educational or control group over a one-year period. Education consisted of five individual sessions covering: pathophysiology of asthma, role of medication and side-effects, asthma triggers and their avoidance, detection of an asthma flare-up, and self-management plan based on symptoms and peak-flow monitoring. MAIN OUTCOME CRITERION: symptom-free days over the study period (SFD).
Results: a total of 72 patients were enrolled (36 in the "education group" and 36 in the "control group"), 54 of whom completed the study. Mean SFD was comparable in the two groups (88% in the education group and 89% in the control group, respectively). When the analysis was restricted to the education group, those patients who complied perfectly with the action plan (n = 5) exhibited a higher SFD, compared to the others (97% vs. 87%, p = 0.009).
Conclusion: both education and control groups showed high and comparable percentages of SFD. Compliance with self-management plans appears to be an important determining factor in educational programs.