McMaster University: New asthma research led by Paul O’Byrne

By Adem Lewis / in , , , , , , , /

Asthma is a very prevalent disease affecting probably somewhere between 12 and 15 per cent of Canadian children and 8 to 10 per cent of adults in Canada. It’s a chronic inflammatory disease of the airways. I had asthma as child quite early in life. It started when I was aged three or four and that was at a time when we did not have really effective treatments to manage it. I can remember the impact that having particularly acute severe asthma attacks had on me as a child and on my family. There are very effective treatments available. These are inhaled medications and they are called inhaled corticosteroids. These are effective, but they need to be taken every day, twice a day usually, to get the maximum benefit. When patients have very mild disease, and don’t have symptoms every day, they tend not to use the medication as prescribed. And so, what we call adherence to the medication, is in the range of 20 per cent, so 1 in 5 patients actually use it every day as prescribed. Having this one inhaler approach turned out to be just as good as using the regular inhaled steroids twice a day at reducing the risk of having a severe asthma attack. I have been living with asthma for just over 20 years. It is easier to use just one inhaler rather than multiple ones. I have found I have been sick less often using the single inhaler.

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