Pregnant Women Still Undertreated for Asthma

DECEMBER 01, 2005

According to new data that support the findings of previous research, young women are not being adequately treated for asthma, both before and during pregnancy. Current guidelines strongly advise that asthma be treated in pregnant women, according to Michael Schatz, MD, of Kaiser-Permanente Medical Center in San Diego, Calif. The data were published in the September 2005 issue of Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.

The researchers used a medical claims database to analyze asthma medication use in the 6 months before and 6 months after 633 women became pregnant. The data showed that ~50% of the women had been prescribed an asthma-related drug prior to pregnancy. At that time, 142 were using asthma controller therapy, and 283 were using a shortacting bronchodilator with or without controller therapy. After they became pregnant, those numbers dropped to 94 and 137, respectively.

Dr. Schatz emphasized that appropriate use of inhaled corticosteroids during pregnancy reduces asthma-related illnesses, and that "treatment of asthma with inhaled corticosteroids during pregnancy has not been associated with adverse outcomes."