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.
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