ASTHMA WATCH

Pharmacy Times, Volume 0,0

Rhinitis and Severe Asthma Go Together

Brazilian researchers found that individualswho do not respond well toasthma treatment also are more proneto have moderate-to-severe rhinitis. Toinvestigate the correlation between the 2conditions, the researchers studied 557patients with severe asthma.

Overall, 31% had moderate-to-severerhinitis, 54% had mild rhinitis, and 15%did not have the condition. The patientswith moderate-to-severe rhinitis were>3 times as likely to visit the emergencyroom during the year they were followed,compared with other patients. The findingsalso showed that patients werealmost 3 times as likely to show a <10%improvement in asthma symptoms andwere >12 times as likely to have uncontrolledasthma by the end of the study,reported the researchers in the May 2008issue of Allergy.

Birth Defects May Result fromAsthma During Pregnancy

A study, reported in the June 2008 issueof the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology,found that uncontrolled asthmaduring the first trimester of pregnancy significantlyincreases the risk of birth defectsin babies. For the study, the researchersanalyzed >4300 pregnancies throughhealth care and pharmacy records.

The findings indicated that womenwho had an asthma flare-up in the firsttrimesterof pregnancy were 48% morelikely to have a baby with at least onecongenital defect, compared with motherswith asthmawho did not experiencea flare-up during that time. The studydata indicated that the occurrence ofbirth defectsamong children of motherswho experienced a flare-up was 12.8%,compared with a rate of 8.9% for motherswith better-controlled asthma.

Hitting the Road withAllergies, Asthma

Summer travel for individuals withasthma and allergy means more timeoutdoors and increased exposure tocommonallergy and asthma triggers. TheAmerican Academy of Allergy, Asthma &Immunology recommends that patientswith allergic disease take the followingsteps to ensure that their summer travelis fun, not frustrating:

  • Air out vehicles before a lengthy road trip and also travel with the windows rolled up
  • Plan to drive in the early morning or late evening to avoid high midday air pollution levels and idling traffic
  • When traveling by airplane, pack medications according to federal security regulations
  • Request allergy-free hotel accommodations, which can include special rooms, pillows, and linens
  • Visit an allergist/immunologist before the trip to discuss any treatment questions

Kids: DrinkApple Juice

The results of a study, recently reportedin the European Respiratory Journal,confirmed the link between apples andlung health. A small study of 5- to 10-year-oldschoolchildren in the Greenwich areaof London found that children who drinkplenty of apple juice may be less likely todevelop asthma symptoms.

For the study, the parents of the childrenwere questioned about their child?sfruit intake and any symptoms they experienced.Although the researchers didnot find a correlation between apple juiceconsumption and a lower risk of anactual asthma diagnosis, the associationbetweenwheezing and drinking the juicewas quite compelling.

Wheezing is a key sign that a child isat an increased risk of asthma, althoughmany with the symptoms are not eventuallydiagnosed with the illness. The researchersnoted that the apple juiceinvolved did not have to be fresh applejuice. Juices made from concentrate alsowere effective.

Uncontrolled Asthma Prevalent in Adults, Kids

The Asthma USA survey showed that uncontrolled asthmahad significant medical consequences. Adults with uncontrolledasthma were more prone to need treatment with oralcorticosteroids, visit the emergency room, or be hospitalized,compared with patients with well-controlled asthma.

Children with uncontrolled asthma also were in the samesituation. Earlier studies have shown that uncontrolled asthmacan put patients at risk for increased asthma symptoms, suddenasthma attacks, hospitalization, and even death.

The survey included >81,500 households that were assessedusing the Asthma Control Test (ACT). Of the >10,000 adults withself-reported asthma taking the ACT, 41% had a score of 19 orless, which indicates uncontrolled asthma. The survey alsoexamined scores from the Childhood Asthma Control Test andACT in >3000 children respondents between the ages of 4 and17. The results indicated that 31% of the children with asthmabetween the ages of 4 and 11 and 25% of those between theages of 12 and 17 did not have well-controlled asthma.

F A S T F A C T : Approximately 16.7 million physician office visits each year are attributed to allergic rhinitis.