Revisiting early intervention in adult asthma Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • The term “early intervention” with inhaled corticosteroids (ICS) in asthma is used in different ways, thereby causing confusion and misinterpretation of data. We propose that the term should be reserved for start of ICS therapy in patients with a diagnosis of asthma but within a short period of time after the first symptoms, not from the date of diagnosis. Prospective clinical studies suggest a time frame of 2 years for the term “early” from the onset of symptoms to starting anti-inflammatory treatment with ICS.The current literature supports early intervention with ICS for all patients with asthma including patients with mild disease, who often have normal or near-normal lung function. This approach reduces symptoms rapidly and allows patients to achieve early asthma control. Later introduction of ICS therapy may not reduce effectiveness in terms of lung function but delays asthma control and exposes patients to unnecessary morbidity. Results of nationwide intervention programmes support the early use of ICS, as it significantly minimises the disease burden.Acute asthma exacerbations are usually preceded by progressing symptoms and lung function decline over a period of 1–2 weeks. Treatment with an increased dose of ICS together with a rapid- and long-acting inhaled β2-agonist during this phase has reduced the risk of severe exacerbations.

publication date

  • May 2015