Journal of Asthma, DOI: 10.1080/02770903.2020.1748048
Objective: Oral corticosteroids (OCS) are frequently used as relievers for acute asthma and controllers for severe asthma. However, the relief offered by OCS is counterbalanced by adverse effects. We aimed to describe how patients perceive OCS treatment benefits and risks, and how this could affect their adherence to the treatment.
Methods: Patients aged ≥18 years with asthma registered with Carenity, an online patient community, were invited to respond to a questionnaire containing 35 closed and 3 open questions to assess their asthma and perceptions of OCS.
Results: 268/300 respondents were receiving or had received OCS for asthma (58 for long-term use and 107 for short-term use). The mean age at diagnosis was 21.3 years. 66% had uncontrolled asthma (GINA control score 3 or 4). Although 42% perceived OCS to be efficacious, 46% mentioned adverse effects. Respondents were mostly satisfied with OCS (median = 7.0/10), particularly for efficacy (median = 8.0/10). Respondents reported having strategies to avoid OCS, mainly because of adverse effects. 26% of respondents had previously reduced or stopped OCS; this proportion was 22% for short-term OCS users and 36% for long-term users. 15% of the respondents not receiving long-term OCS would take the treatment without doing anything else if long-term OCS were prescribed; 42% would seek an alternative treatment.
Conclusions: OCS for asthma is perceived efficient but associated with adverse effects. Patients seek alternative treatment.