ASTHMA WATCH

Pharmacy Times, Volume 0, 0

National Asthma Screening Program Is Coming

The American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology(ACAAI) is sponsoring the 11th annual Nationwide AsthmaScreening Program. The program will help to screen peoplewith breathing problems to determine if they have asthmaand offer suggestions to help alleviate these problems.Asthma specialists will bring the free program to 300 locationsacross the country during National Asthma and AllergyAwareness Month in May. The program will also encouragethose already diagnosed with asthma to talk with an allergistabout the disease and how to better control symptoms.

Adult participants will complete a 20-question LifeQuality Test developed by the ACAAI for the program; childrenunder age 15 will take the Kids'Asthma Check thathelps them to answer questions alone about any breathingproblems. Another version of the test is available for parentsof children under age 8. All the participants will alsotake part in a lung function test and meet with an allergistto decide if they should seek a more thorough examinationand diagnosis. For a list of asthma screening locations anddates, visit the ACAAI Web site at www.acaai.org.

Atlanta, Ga, Tops Asthma Capitals

The Asthma and Allergy Foundationof America (AAFA) has released itsannual US Asthma Capitals ranking ofthe 100 most challenging places to livewith asthma. The AAFA analyzed statisticsfrom the largest metropolitan areasof the United States based on 12 factorsfrom 3 broad categories—prevalence,risk, and medical factors. Thecomplete list is available at www.AsthmaCapitals.com.

The top 10 Asthma Capitals are:

  • Atlanta, Ga
  • Philadelphia, Pa
  • Raleigh, NC
  • Knoxville, Tenn
  • Harrisburg, Pa
  • Grand Rapids, Mich
  • Milwaukee, Wis
  • Greensboro, NC
  • Scranton, Pa
  • Little Rock, Ark

Although patients with asthma inthese cities may not be able to moveaway, they are encouraged to workwith their physicians and asthma specialiststo improve management of theirconditions, as well as working withtheir communities to improve suchproblems as air pollution, public smoking,health insurance coverage, andmore. The AAFA compiles the list ofAsthma Capitals each year.

Alternate Treatments Help ChronicAsthma

New research suggests that alternate treatments may berequired for patients with chronic asthma, depending onwhether it is caused by allergies or lung infections. Past studiesshowed that certain lung infections, such as Mycoplasmapneumoniae, can linger and cause a patient to experiencesymptoms of asthma later on. Researchers have now identifieda specific gene that influences how bad an M pneumoniaeinfection may be, which may suggest that an alternateattack might be needed for treating asthma that comes fromthis and other lung infections, as opposed to allergies.

Robert Doug Hardy, MD, assistant professor of internalmedicine at the University of Texas Southwestern MedicalCenter at Dallas, stated, "Infectious asthma might have a differentmechanism than allergic asthma. Most people thinkasthma is asthma, but it may be multifaceted." Because theM pneumoniae bacterium is difficult to kill and oftenremains in the lungs after antibiotic treatment and symptomsare over, Dr. Hardy said, it is important to findimproved treatments to prevent it from lingering. The findingswere published in the January 2007 issue of Infectionand Immunity.

Can Aspirin Help Prevent Asthma?

New research published in the January 2007 issue of theAmerican Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicinefound that adult men who were already taking daily aspirin forthe prevention of heart disease also had a 22% lower risk ofadult-onset asthma. Researchers from Brigham and Women'sHospital in Boston, Mass, reviewed data from the Physician'sHealth Study, which started in 1982. This included data from22,071 men between the ages of 40 and 84 who were randomlyassigned to receive either a daily dose of 325 mg ofaspirin or a placebo. The original aim of the study was to determinethe role of aspirin in the prevention of heart disease.

The researchers noted that, during the 5-year study, 113new cases of asthma were diagnosed in the 11,037 men whowere taking aspirin, compared with 145 from the placebogroup. Although researchers could not pinpoint aspirin'sexact role in preventing asthma, they suggested that themedicine's anti-inflammatory effects might be a key. They didwarn, however, that, for people who already have asthma,aspirin could actually be an irritant that can trigger symptoms.They said that more study is needed to determine thespecifics of aspirin's potential benefits in the prevention ofasthma in otherwise healthy adults.