From asthma severity to control: a shift in clinical practice

Prim Care Respir J. 2010 Mar;19(1):3-9. doi: 10.4104/pcrj.2009.00059.


Variability is a characteristic feature of asthma, and the aim of asthma management is to eliminate or minimise disease variability. Controlled asthma shows little or no variability, and is achievable and sustainable in the majority of patients. New international guidelines recommend control-driven management rather than management based on disease severity. Good asthma control is associated with reductions in patients' perception of the asthma burden, reduced healthcare resource utilisation, lower levels of impairment/restriction, normal quality of life, and low risk of exacerbations. Asthma control involves the control of several outcomes. Its assessment should include components relevant to achievement of best possible clinical control and reduction of future risk of adverse outcomes. Focusing on a single or a few outcomes can lead to incorrect control assessment and increased risk of under-treatment. Several validated asthma control assessment tools have been developed to facilitate correct assessment of the level of control in clinical practice. It is hoped that focusing on control will reduce the frequency of sub-optimal treatment in the primary care setting. Further validation of the best way to assess control easily and accurately, and the implementation of control-driven management, are the two most important challenges for the future of asthma management.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Asthma / diagnosis
  • Asthma / psychology
  • Asthma / therapy*
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Humans
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Quality of Life*
  • Self Concept
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Treatment Outcome