Background: Data on the impact of asthma in many countries in the Asia-Pacific region is limited. This study investigated whether partly- and uncontrolled asthma were associated with increased medication use/healthcare utilization and productivity loss among a population of asthma patients from nine Asia-Pacific countries.
Methods: We used cross-sectional data from 3630 asthma patients ≥12 years from the 2011 Asia-Pacific Asthma Insights and Management (AP-AIM) survey. Using Global Initiative for Asthma (GINA) guidelines, patients were categorized as having well-controlled, partly- controlled, or uncontrolled asthma. Chi-square tests were used to assess the relation of degree of asthma control with utilization of asthma medications, health services, productivity, and mood.
Results: Overall, 7.6% of the patients surveyed had asthma that was well-controlled, with the highest proportions in Singapore (14%) and the lowest in India (0%) and China (2%). Patients whose asthma was not well-controlled reported greater use of asthma medications, more emergency healthcare visits or hospitalizations for their asthma, and more interference of their mood due to asthma. They also reported significant decreases in productivity due to asthma.
Conclusions: Patients who did not have well-controlled asthma had greater utilization rates of asthma medications and healthcare services and were more likely to report missing multiple days of work/school compared to patients whose asthma was well-controlled. These associations suggest that emphasis on improving asthma control could have dramatic effects on patient well-being and utilization of healthcare resources.
Keywords: Global Initiative for Asthma (GINA) guidelines; Healthcare utilization; Long term maintenance medications; Oral steroids; Productivity.
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