Asthma :: New Studies Reveal What Caregivers See As Key Issues To Facilitate Better Asthma Treatment

In two studies presented during the annual meeting of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI), held in Philadelphia November 9-15, caregivers considered the ?seal of approval? from the FDA to be the most important factor when looking for an effective asthma treatment for their child. Caregivers and physicians also expressed in the study the need for a standardized assessment tool that could help diagnose and monitor asthma.

The survey of treatment-attribute preferences (Hitchcock, Mellon, Memran et al)1, questioned 186 caregivers of children, aged one to four years, with asthma. Seventy five percent of those surveyed wanted an FDA-approved treatment, and, caregivers strongly preferred a treatment that requires minimal effort for the child and takes no longer than 10 minutes to administer. Fifty four percent of caregivers said they would follow their physician?s advice if given a treatment that met these criteria, while 35 percent indicated they would be willing to take an alternative treatment.

The asthma assessment-tool study (Murphy, Chipps, Mellon et al)2, which interviewed 23 physicians and caregivers, reflected physicians? consensus that diagnosing asthma in young children is challenging: Not only must they rely on the caregiver?s account of the child?s history of symptoms and past response to treatment, they also have no standardized measures of asthma control in children under age 5. In the study, physicians and caregivers agreed that a brief standardized questionnaire completed by caregivers would help physicians better diagnose children?s asthma and help caregivers better manage their child?s asthma.

?Drug delivery and caregiver involvement contribute significantly to adherence, which is critical for managing children?s asthma,? said Kathy Lampl, MD, Associate Director, Clinical Research, AstraZeneca. ?The findings from these studies suggest that we may be able to improve adherence by providing caregivers of young children with the treatments and tools they need, including a simple, standardized way to report symptoms and monitor control.?

About Childhood Asthma
According to the American Lung Association, asthma currently affects an estimated 6.2 million children under 18, and of those, four million suffered from an asthma attack or episode in 2004.3 In the previous year, more than 600,000 children under 15 visited emergency rooms because of their asthma.3

Asthma accounted for 14 million lost school days in 2004, making it the leading cause of school absenteeism attributable to chronic conditions.3 In fact, a recent survey found more than a third (39%) of parents missed work in the past year as a result of their child?s asthma, and more than one in 10 (11%) missed more than a week of work in the past year as a result of their child?s condition.4

More recent surveys show many parents think their children?s asthma is well controlled when it really may not be. One survey in particular found that more than half (55 percent) thought only asthma symptoms, and not their underlying causes, could be treated5, which may explain why they do not use a daily controller treatment.

Asthma is characterized by excessive sensitivity of the lungs to various stimuli resulting in swelling of the airways and tightening of the muscles surrounding the airways. Symptoms include wheezing, cough, chest tightness, and shortness of breath. Asthma can be triggered by viral respiratory infections (?colds?), exercise, cigarette smoke, animal dander, pollens, dust, cockroaches, molds, cold air or sudden temperature change.3

Inflammation of the airways is the underlying problem in asthma, which improves when anti-inflammatory medications are used regularly. As a result, asthma symptoms may be controlled when anti-inflammatory medications are used regularly.

About AstraZeneca
AstraZeneca is a major international healthcare business engaged in the research, development, manufacture and marketing of prescription pharmaceuticals and the supply of healthcare services. AstraZeneca recently expanded eligibility requirements for its Patient Assistance Program to allow a family of four earning $60,000, or individuals earning $30,000, who do not have prescription drug coverage, to qualify to get their AstraZeneca medicines for free.

AstraZeneca is one of the world’s leading pharmaceutical companies with healthcare sales of $23.95 billion and leading positions in sales of gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, neuroscience, respiratory, oncology and infection products. In the United States, AstraZeneca is a $10.77 billion healthcare business with more than 12,000 employees. AstraZeneca is listed in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index (Global) as well as the FTSE4Good Index.

AstraZeneca Respiratory is dedicated to the development of new, effective treatments that help improve lung health and enhance the lives of adults and children living with asthma. Through innovative respiratory products, including SYMBICORT?, PULMICORT RESPULES?, PULMICORT TURBUHALER?, and RHINOCORT AQUA?, AstraZeneca is providing patients with effective treatment options to help manage their conditions.

1 Hitchcock W, Mellon M, Memran M et al. Caregiver preferences for delivery system for treating pediatric asthma and likelihood to adhere to treatment. Poster presented at the 2006 Annual Meeting of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, November 9-15, 2006.

2 Murphy K, Chipps B, Mellom M et al. Qualitative analysis of the need for and acceptance of a caregiver-completed instrument for monitoring asthma control in young children. Poster presented at the 2006 Annual Meeting of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, November 9-15, 2006.

3 American Lung Association. Asthma & Children Fact Sheet. Available at: http://www.lungusa.org/site/pp.asp?c=dvLUK9O0E&b=44352. Accessed 10/26/06

4 Asthma Action America?. Children & Asthma in America: Personal Consequences of Asthma. Available at: http://www.asthmainamerica.com/personal_consequences.html. Accessed 10/26/06

5 Asthma Action America?. Children & Asthma in America: Widespread Misunderstanding. Available at: www.asthmainamerica.com/widespread.html. Accessed 10/26/06


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