The ARGA study with general practitioners: impact of medical education on asthma/rhinitis management

Respir Med. 2012 Jun;106(6):777-85. doi: 10.1016/j.rmed.2012.02.013. Epub 2012 Mar 20.


Aim: To evaluate the impact of a medical education course (MEC) on the behaviour of general practitioners (GPs) to treat asthma and allergic rhinitis (AR).

Methods: Data on 1820 patients (mean age 41 yrs ± 17 yrs) with asthma or AR were collected by 107 Italian GPs: 50% attended a MEC and 50% didn't (group B). The adherence for AR and asthma treatment was evaluated according to ARIA and GINA guidelines (GL).

Results: AR and asthma were diagnosed in 78% and 56% of patients; 34% had concomitant AR and asthma. Regardless of the MEC, the adherence to GL was significantly higher for AR than for asthma treatment (52 versus 19%). Group B GPs were more compliant to ARIA guidelines in the treatment of mild AR, whereas group A were more compliant in the treatment of moderate-severe AR; the adherence didn't differ between the groups for AR patients with comorbid asthma. Adherence to GINA GL for asthma treatment did not differ between GPs of groups A and B, independently from concomitant AR. Though insignificantly, group A were more compliant to GINA GL in the treatment of patients with only severe persistent asthma (63 versus 46%) as group B were for patients with severe persistent asthma and concomitant AR.

Conclusions: GPs often tend to treat patients independently from GL. The impact of a single MEC did not improve adherence to GL in treating less severe AR and asthma patients, while there was a trend towards the opposite attitude in more severe AR patients without concomitant asthma.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anti-Asthmatic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Asthma / drug therapy*
  • Clinical Competence
  • Drug Compounding / standards
  • Education, Medical, Continuing*
  • Family Practice / education*
  • Family Practice / standards
  • Female
  • Glucocorticoids / therapeutic use
  • Guideline Adherence / statistics & numerical data
  • Histamine Antagonists / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Italy
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians' / statistics & numerical data
  • Program Evaluation
  • Prospective Studies
  • Rhinitis / drug therapy*
  • Young Adult


  • Anti-Asthmatic Agents
  • Glucocorticoids
  • Histamine Antagonists