Inadequate Therapy and Poor Symptom Control among Children with Asthma: Findings from a Multistate Sample

Ambulatory Paediatrics, Volume 7, Issue 21, pages 153-159
Jill S. Halterman, MD, MPH1, Peggy Auinger, MS1, Kelly M. Conn, MPH1, Kathleen Lynch, BA1, H. Lorrie Yoos, PhD2, Peter G. Szilagyi, MD, MPH1

Asthma continues to cause significant morbidity in children. We hypothesized that many children still do not use recommended preventive medications, or they have ineffective symptom control despite preventive medication use. The aim of this study was 1) to describe the use of preventive medications among children with persistent asthma, 2) to determine whether children using preventive medications have adequate asthma control, and 3) to identify factors associated with poor control.

The State and Local Area Integrated Telephone Survey (SLAITS) Asthma Survey provided parent-reported data for children aged <18 years with asthma from a random-digit dial survey implemented in Alabama, California, Illinois, and Texas. We focused this analysis on children with persistent symptoms and/or children using preventive asthma medications (N = 975). Children with inadequate therapy had persistent symptoms and no preventive medication use. Children with suboptimal control had persistent symptoms or >1 attack in the previous 3 months despite preventive medication use; children in optimal control had intermittent symptoms, ≤1 attack, and reported using preventive medication. Demographic and asthma-related variables were compared across groups.

Among children with persistent asthma, 37% had inadequate therapy, 42.9% had suboptimal control, and only 20.1% had optimal control. In multivariate regression, black race (odds ratio [OR], 2.0; 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.1–3.5), Hispanic ethnicity (OR, 1.8; 95% CI, 1.1–2.9), and discontinuous insurance status (OR, 2.4; 95% CI, 1.4–4.3) were associated with inadequate therapy. Potential explanations for poor control included poor adherence, exposure to smoke and other triggers, and lack of written action plans.

Inadequate asthma therapy remains a significant problem. A newly highlighted concern is the substantial number of children experiencing poor symptom control despite reported use of preventive medications.




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