Get Up To Date About Asthma

Asthma News and Research Updates

There are thousands of pages of clinical research and various opinions surrounding asthma – how to diagnose it, how to monitor it, how to manage it, how to treat it – and it can be overwhelming to say the least. Stay informed on the current conversations in asthma and check back frequently to read up on the latest in research and news.

News & Noteworthy

Researchers explore noninvasive means for assessing control in children: Diagnosing asthma in children can often present a challenge for many doctors and a growing interest exists to identify noninvasive methods for assessing inflammation in the airways.1,2,3 Some of these measures include:

  • Impulse ocillometry (IOS) – IOS is a noninvasive measurement that can independently examine both large and small airways. It requires minimal effort from the patient to breathe normally into a mouthpiece, and therefore could be considered a good option for children in particular. It has been shown to be useful in both the diagnosis of asthma, as well as measuring small airway inflammation in children.3
  • Exhaled Nitric Oxide (eNO) – eNO is an innovative technique that provides unique insights into asthma inflammation and may be a better-suited measurement of control for children due to its non-invasiveness and immediate results. Patients with asthma typically show increased levels of exhaled NO and recent studies have shown that measuring eNO can be valuable in diagnosing asthma, as well as identifying and monitoring flare-ups and asessing of how effective your asthma treatment may be.1

The debate continues regarding maintenance treatment options for persistent asthma: Current NAEPP guidelines recommend the use of an Inhaled Corticosteriod (ICS) therapy as a first step in treating mild-to-moderate persistent asthma. However, many people with persistent asthma are prescribed combination therapies which include an ICS and a long-acting bronchodilator, also known as Long-Acting Beta Agonists (LABA) together. Highlights on this topic include:

  • Combination therapies are proven to reduce asthma attacks and help maintain asthma control. However due to the long-term risks associated with the use of LABAs alone, they are not recommended as a long-term maintenance treatment of persistent asthma.4
  • The FDA has determined that the benefits of LABAs when used in combination with an ICS therapy in improving asthma symptoms do outweigh the potential risks associated with the long-term risks of LABAs. This includes the shortest duration of use needed to achieve control of asthma symptoms.4
  • If a patient using a combination therapy is able to achieve control of their asthma, current guidelines suggest a “step-down” approach – meaning reducing treatment from a combination ICS and LABA to an ICS treatment alone.4

Always remember to talk to your doctor about what treatment options might work best for your unique medical condition.

References
  1. Hatziagorou E. and Tsanakas J. Assessment of airway inflammation with exhaled NO measurement. Hippokratia. 2007 Apr-Jun; 11(2): 51-62.
  2. Devika R. The Utility of Forced Expiratory Flow between 25% and 75% of Vital Capacity in Preciting Childhood Asthma Morbiditiy and Severity. Journal of Asthma. 2012; 49(6): 586-592.
  3. Yixin Shi MS. Relating small airways to asthma control by using impulse ocillometry in children. J Allergy Clin Immunol 2011:1-8.
  4. National Asthma Education and Prevention Program Expert Panel. Report 3: Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Management of Asthma. Rockville, MD: National Heart, Lung,and Blood Institute; 2007. NIH Publication 08-4051.