Unsatisfactory asthma control: astonishing evidence from general practitioners and respiratory medicine specialists

J Investig Allergol Clin Immunol. 2010;20(1):9-12.


Background: The aim of asthma therapy is to achieve and maintain disease control. Clinicians' behavior is crucial in terms of prescribing the best possible treatment, carrying out appropriate follow-up, and ensuring adherence to treatment. Although clinical trials have demonstrated that asthma control is an achievable goal, real-life data show that this objective is still far from being reached.

Objective: To investigate physician-related factors that can influence successful asthma management.

Methods: In 2008, 811 general practitioners (GPs) and 230 respiratory medicine specialists attending a continuous medical education program completed a questionnaire prior to beginning the course on aspects related to asthma pathogenesis and control, applicability of research and guidelines in daily practice, and doctor-patient relations.

Results: The level of knowledge among GPs and specialists regarding the use of control tools was not optimal, with the Asthma Control Test used by 20.15% of GPs and 42.92% of specialists. The respondents were also largely unable to correctly identify level of asthma control, with approximately just 20% providing correct answers. Although chronic inflammation was considered the main feature of asthma by more than 90% of the 2 groups, they inexplicably believed that up to 40% of patients might not require long-term treatment. Both GPs and specialists preferred a continuous fixed-dose regimen (57.69% and 54.21%, respectively) and did not tend to favor self-management plans, believing that these were only feasible in a very small percentage of patients.

Conclusion: Our findings provide one possible explanation of why asthma control levels are currently unsatisfactory in real life.

MeSH terms

  • Asthma / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Patient Compliance
  • Physician-Patient Relations
  • Physicians, Family*
  • Pulmonary Medicine*
  • Specialization*