Asthma management among allergists in Italy: results from a survey

https://doi.org/10.1186/s12948-017-0067-2

M. S. Magnoni, M. Caminati, G. W. Canonica, F. Arpinelli, A. Rizzi and G. Senna

Abstract

Background

In Europe more than 50% of asthmatic treated patients have not well-controlled asthma. Asthma affects about 2.5 million of patients in Italy.

Aims and objectives

The present survey aims at investigating how Italian allergists approach asthmatic patients, in order to highlight pitfalls and unmet needs concerning real-life asthma management.

Methods

An anonymous 16 item web questionnaire was available (April–October 2015) to all allergists who visited the web site of SIAAIC (Società Italiana di Allergologia, Asma Immunologia Clinica). Those who wished to give their contribution had the opportunity to answer about epidemiology, risk factors, treatment approaches, and adherence to therapy.

Results

One hundred and seventy four allergists answered the survey. 54% of them reported up to 10 patient visits per week and 35.3% between 10 and 30. The most frequent reasons of follow up visits are routine check-up (56.5% of allergists), and worsening of symptoms (41% of allergists). Nocturnal apnoeas, gastro-esophageal reflux and obesity are the most important comorbidities/risk factors of poorly controlled asthma. Bronchial hyper-responsiveness, increased NO levels and reduced exercise tolerance are the most important indicators of asthma severity. Concerning therapy, ICS combined with LABA is the treatment of choice suitable for the majority of patients. A rapid onset of action and a flexible ICS dosage are indicated as the optimal characteristics for achieving the therapeutic goals. Poor adherence to therapy is an important reason for symptom worsening for the majority of allergists. Complex dosage regimens and economic aspects are considered the most important factors impacting on adherence.

Conclusions

Allergists are involved in the management of asthma, regularly seeing their patients. Co-morbidities are frequent in asthmatic patients and may impact negatively on disease control, thus identifying patients who need a more careful and strict monitoring. Airway hyper-responsiveness to methacholine challenge test and nitric oxide are considered important indicators of asthma severity. The combination of LABA and inhaled steroids is considered the treatment of choice for most asthmatic patients, in keeping with broad evidence indicating that the combination therapy is more effective and rapid in gaining asthma control than inhaled corticosteroids alone. Adherence to medication regimens is considered of essence to achieve the therapeutic goals.

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Editor: Juan C. Ivancevich, MD

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