Influence on asthma morbidity of asthma education programs based on self-management plans following treatment optimization

Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 1997 May;155(5):1509-14. doi: 10.1164/ajrccm.155.5.9154850.


The objective of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of an asthma education program on morbidity, knowledge, and compliance with inhaled corticosteroid treatment using a prospective, randomized, controlled, one-year-before/one-year-after protocol. After rigorous optimization of asthma therapy under the care of respirologists, patients were assigned to one of three groups: Group C (control group: no formal education), Group P (education and action plan based on peak-flow monitoring), and Group S (education with action plan based on monitoring of asthma symptoms). A total of 188 subjects with moderate to severe asthma were enrolled and 149 completed the study. Asthma morbidity decreased significantly in all groups (p = 0.001). Mean values one-year-before/one-year-after in Groups C, P, and S were: unscheduled medical visits, 2.4/0.8, 2.3/0.7, and 1.9/ 0.7; hospitalizations, 0.21/0.04, 0.24/0.04, and 0.40/0.09; oral steroid treatments; 1.3/0.5, 1.2/0.7, and 1.3/0.9; absenteeism from work/school, 9.6/5.2, 8.8/2.2, and 6.3/2.9. Between-group differences did not reach statistical significance (p > 0.05). Asthma knowledge increased in both educated groups compared with the control group (p < 0.001) as did short-term compliance with inhaled corticosteroids. These results confirm that treatment optimization coupled with sustained high quality care in motivated patients can lead to a significant decrease in asthma morbidity. In such clinical settings, structured asthma education significantly improved short-term compliance with treatment and knowledge about asthma, although it could not add extra benefit with regard to morbidity. Nevertheless, this study does not refute the potential benefit of educational interventions aimed at improving asthma-related morbidity over a longer time period or in patients with less optimal care or with high-risk factors.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Absenteeism
  • Adult
  • Asthma / physiopathology
  • Asthma / prevention & control
  • Asthma / therapy*
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Health Services / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Patient Compliance
  • Patient Education as Topic*
  • Peak Expiratory Flow Rate
  • Self Care*