Researchers set out to compare asthma care in patients seen by allergists versus those seen by primary care physicians. The study included a random group of 3568 patients with persistent asthma who were enrolled in an integrated health care system. Of the patients who completed the assessment, 1679 used a primary care physician for their asthma care, 884 identified an allergist, 693 reported no regular source of asthma care, and 195 used a pulmonologist.
Patients seeing an allergist for their asthma reported fewer asthma control problems, less severe asthma symptoms, higher scores for asthma-specific quality of life and for overall general health, and a better understanding of how to manage asthma, as well as greater overall satisfaction with the care they received.
The allergist group also was less likely to have overused beta-agonists (rescue medications) and more likely to have received inhaled steroids. (The findings were reported the Journal of Allergy & Clinical Immunology, December 2005.)