Background: An estimated 23 million Americans have asthma, of whom at least 12 million experience an asthma exacerbation every year. Clinical practice guidelines focus on asthma control, with an emphasis on reducing both impairment and risk.
Objective: We sought to explore broad patterns of asthma prevalence, self-reported medication use, and indicators of control in a nationally representative sample.
Methods: The 2008, 2009, and 2010 Medical Expenditure Panel Surveys were used to examine the national prevalence of self-reported asthma, trends in medication use, and demographic characteristics of asthmatic patients. History of lifetime asthma and current diagnosis were ascertained based on self-report. Asthma management and control were examined by using patient-reported medication use.
Results: Of the 102,544 subjects asked about an asthma diagnosis, 9,782 reported lifetime asthma, and 8,837 reported current asthma. Five thousand five subjects (4.8% of the population) reported experiencing an asthma exacerbation in the previous year. Four thousand five hundred twenty-one subjects used a quick-relief inhaler for asthma symptoms, and 14.6% used more than 3 canisters of this type of medication in the past 3 months. Of this group, 60% were using daily long-term control medication but still required significant use of quick-relief inhalers, whereas 28% had never used long-term control medication. Of those who had a recent exacerbation, 29% were using daily preventive medication, whereas 54% had never used long-term control medication.
Conclusions: Improvement of asthma control continues to be a US public health concern. Results suggest suboptimal asthma control with underuse of long-term control medications, overuse of quick-relief inhalers, and a significant number of self-reported asthma exacerbations.
Keywords: Asthma; Medical Expenditure Panel Survey; United States; control; exacerbation; peak flow; survey; treatment.
Copyright © 2013 American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. Published by Mosby, Inc. All rights reserved.