Objective: To describe the prevalence of and morbidity and mortality from asthma in Americans and the impact of the disease on health resource utilization and costs, define asthma control and characterize the extent to which it is achieved with recommended asthma therapies, discuss patterns of medication use in patients with asthma who are at high risk for morbidity and mortality, characterize health resource utilization and morbidity in patients with difficult-to-treat asthma, and identify the objectives of asthma drug therapy research efforts.
Data sources: This article is based on a presentation given by the author at a symposium entitled. New Frontiers in Asthma Management: Biotechnology for Optimal Therapeutic and Economic Outcomes. at the Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy's 15th Annual Meeting and Showcase in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on April 10, 2003.
Conclusions: The prevalence of asthma and associated costs has increased in the United States. Patients with asthma that is difficult to treat because of frequent or severe exacerbations, inability to avoid asthma triggers, or the need for multiple drug therapies or complex medication regimens are responsible for a disproportionately large share of health resource utilization and costs. Medication use is less than optimal in many patients with asthma who are at high risk for morbidity and mortality, and asthma control is poor in many patients despite the use of recommended drug therapies. Results of the TENOR Study, a large, 3-year, multicenter, observational cohort study, demonstrated that difficult-to-treat asthma is associated with substantial health resource utilization and morbidity. New asthma drug therapies are needed to improve asthma control, patient adherence to the therapeutic regimen, and quality of life and reduce the incidence of asthma exacerbations, health resource utilization, and costs.