Inappropriate asthma advice3rd September 2007
A new study has suggested many asthmatic children in the UK are not receiving the right kind of treatment.
The study, published in the journal Archives of Disease in Childhood, analysed GP's prescribing information from 2000 to 2006.
Researchers found many children were prescribed syrups or drugs for asthma, although these have been given a health warning by the British Thoracic Society (BTS).
The Society's guidance does not encourage the prescription of bronchodilator syrups. This is because their impact on asthma symptoms can be "limited".
About one million children in the UK are asthmatic. Around 30% of childrens' visits to the doctor - between the ages of five to fifteen - are because of asthma.
Researchers from Sydney Children's Hospital discovered that prescriptions for bronchodilator medication were reduced by 60% from 2000 to 2006. However this meant that 121,000 prescriptions were written in 2006.
Despite BTS advice that combination inhalers should be used solely when steroid inhalers did not help treat asthma effectively, the study showed the total prescriptions for long acting beta agonists (LABAs) had nearly doubled.
The percentage of prescriptions for combination inhalers, comprising a steroid and a LABA, went up seven times.
The researchers said "persistent asthma accounts for only 5% to 10% of childhood asthma".
Dr John Moore-Gillon, president of the British Lung Foundation, said that although asthma treatment had improved in the past twenty years, the new research showed there "was some way to go".
"The authors acknowledge that there may be some limitations to the reliability of their results, but they certainly suggest that significant numbers of children may still not be getting the optimum treatment," he added.
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Title: Inappropriate asthma advice
Author: Jess Laurence
Article Id: 3959
Date Added: 3rd Sep 2007