Purpose of review: Work-exacerbated asthma has received little attention until recent years, although it is likely that the condition has a considerable societal impact because of its high prevalence. The purpose of this review is to provide a critical analysis of recently published data pertaining to the socioeconomic outcomes of work-exacerbated asthma.
Recent findings: Recent data have confirmed that work-exacerbated asthma is associated with a similar impact on work productivity and earning capacity as immunologically mediated occupational asthma. The specific impact of work-exacerbated asthma on these outcomes should be further distinguished from the consequences of asthma unrelated to work. There is some suggestion that work-exacerbated asthma might be associated with higher rates of symptoms and exacerbations when compared with asthma unrelated to work. The impact of work-exacerbated asthma in terms of disease severity and healthcare utilization should therefore be further characterized.
Summary: The socioeconomic impact of work-exacerbated asthma should be taken into account in the management of this common, although often underestimated, condition. In addition, evaluating the economic burden of work-exacerbated asthma and its various components is a key step in implementing cost-effective prevention policies.