Research – Open Access
Gender differences in asthma perception and control have been reported. The PROXIMA observational study assessed these outcomes in a cohort of Italian severe allergic asthma (SAA) patients. This post hoc analysis of the PROXIMA results was aimed at assessing gender differences in SAA in a real-world setting, focusing on disease perception and impact on quality of life (QoL).
The PROXIMA study was an observational, multicenter study, consisting of a cross-sectional and a prospective longitudinal phase, including adult outpatients diagnosed with SAA at step 4 requiring a therapeutic step-up. Patients on omalizumab treatment at baseline were included in the 12-month longitudinal phase. Disease control was assessed by the Asthma Control Questionnaire (ACQ) score, patients’ disease perception by the Brief Illness Perception Questionnaire (BIPQ), and QoL by the EuroQoL five-dimensional three-level questionnaire (EQ-5D-3 L) at baseline and after 6 and 12 months. Two regression models were used to evaluate the association between gender and BIPQ total score and EQ-5D-3L score, respectively.
357 patients (65% females) were analyzed for the cross-sectional phase and 99 (62.6% females) for the longitudinal phase. The prevalence of perennial and seasonal aeroallergens was similar between genders. ACQ score decreased similarly during omalizumab treatment at 6 and 12 months in both genders; no gender differences were observed in control rates. Asthma perception was worse among females at all study visits reaching statistical significance at 12 months (mean (SD) B-IPQ total score 41.8 (9.4) vs 35.6 (12.0); T test p-value (males vs females) < 0.05). Statistically significant gender differences were observed for some specific items, with males reporting less symptom experience, concern about the disease, and emotional impact at 12-months. The results of the multivariate regression model for repeated measures showed that overall treatment with omalizumab improved disease perception overtime regardless from gender. Males reported a significantly better QoL compared to females at both 6 and 12 months.
In this real-world setting, females confirmed to have a worse perception of asthma, feel it as more symptomatic and suffer a greater impact on their QoL, even though having similar baseline severity and obtaining similar level of control.