Clinical Factors Associated With Overuse of Asthma Reliever Medication

J Investig Allergol Clin Immunol. 2020;30(1):42-48. doi: 10.18176/jiaci.0387. Epub 2019 Feb 11.


Objective: Our aim was to evaluate the relationship between the clinical factors of asthma and the use of reliever medication.

Methods: We performed an observational cross-sectional study in Spain. The study population comprised patients aged ≥12 years diagnosed with persistent asthma according to the criteria of the Global Initiative for Asthma and receiving maintenance treatment for at least 12 months. Use of reliever medication was classified as low use of reliever medication (LURM) (≤2 times/wk) and high use of reliever medication (HURM) (≥3 times/wk). A variety of clinical variables and patient-reported outcomes (PROs) were recorded (eg, scores on the Asthma Control Questionnaire-5 [ACQ-5] and Test of Adherence to Inhalers [TAI]).

Results: A total of 406 patients were recruited. Mean (SD) age was 44.3 (17.9) years, and 64% were women. Reliever medication was used ≤2 times/wk in 76.1%. Bivariate analysis showed that HURM was related to smoking habit, unscheduled emergency department visits, hospital admissions, higher doses of inhaled corticosteroid, and night awakenings in the previous 4 weeks (P<.001). The multivariate analysis showed a higher risk of using reliever medication in smokers and former smokers, when the number of night awakenings increased, in cases of self-perception of partially controlled or uncontrolled asthma, or when asthma is uncontrolled according to the ACQ-5.

Conclusions: Our study identifies the potential of poor use of reliever medication in the last week as an alarm signal for disease-related parameters such as exacerbations, poor asthma control, and disease severity.

Keywords: Asthma control; Reliever medication.