Oftentimes an acute asthma attack involves an expensive emergency room visit and possible admission to the hospital, making it a problem for economically disadvantaged inner-city adults. A new study, the results of which appeared in the Archives of Internal Medicine, found that outpatient treatment with oral corticosteroids can reduce the symptoms and costs for asthma patients.
The researchers examined 300 inner-city adults with asthma who had been sent home from the hospital after a severe asthma attack. The patients were followed for 2 to 3 weeks to determine what asthma treatment improved their respiratory condition, such as inhaled beta-2 bronchodilators and inhaled or oral steroids, and asthma education. The researchers found that using an oral corticosteroid was the only treatment that significantly improved lung function and appeared to help regardless of the severity of the attack. Regular use of oral corticosteroids following emergency asthma treatment ?would be expected to substantially reduce asthma-related morbidity and the related health care costs,? the authors wrote.