Indians highest users of asthma medicines yet quality of life low: survey

As part of the survey,researchers screened 80,761 households and collected data from 3,630 asthma patients from across nine Nations

Pune | Published: September 4, 2013 1:00:23 am

Though the use of medicines to treat asthma is the highest in india,the country also reported the lowest levels of controlled asthmatics. India has the highest levels of overnight hospitalisations. Majority of the respondents said they had to leave work or school due to asthma,a new multinational survey on asthma and its treatment noted. The survey covers nine countries and was published in August 2013 issue of Australia-based Respiratory Journal.

Dr Sundeep Salvi,researcher of the Asia Pacific Asthma Insight and Management said use of medicine for asthma is the highest in India though their quality of life was the worst. Salvi along with researcher Philip Thompson and others screened 80,761 households and collected data from 3,630 asthma patients from across Australia,China,Hong Kong,India,Malaysia,Singapore,South Korea,Taiwan,and Thailand.

Patients answered 53 questions on general health,diagnosis/history,symptoms,exacerbations,patient burden,disease management,medications/treatments,and patient’s attitudes. The Global Initiative for Asthma (GINA) guidelines were used to assess asthma control.

The survey was conducted from February to July 2011 by random digit telephone dialing (Australia,China,and Hong Kong) or by random face-to-face interviews (India,Malaysia,Singapore,South Korea,Taiwan,and Thailand). Four hundred asthma patients (above 12 years) were identified from among 1,600 interviewed in each country.

In this study,51 per cent of surveyed adults and adolescents with asthma considered themselves to be well or completely controlled during the previous four weeks (before survey was conducted),but only two per cent of them could be classified as having controlled asthma .

While 58 per cent would be classified as partially-controlled and 40 per cent as uncontrolled. With increasing industrialisation and western lifestyles,countries in this region have reported an increase in asthma. Globally asthma prevalence is growing by approximately 50 per cent each decade,but is particularly pronounced in India and China. In India recent reports have revealed a growth of 2.5 per cent over five years in childhood asthma.

India reported the highest percentage of patients missing from work or schooland has the longest average absences. Only 13 per cent of respondents in South Korea were absent due to asthma,while respondents from Taiwan were absent,on average,only 3.5 days. In China and India,exacerbations were reported by 67 per cent and 66 per cent of patients,respectively. Productivity decreased between 27 per cent (Malaysia) and 50 per cent (India). Singaporeans largely use of inhalers while people in South Korea,India,and China use pills. Patients continue to overestimate their degree of asthma control and underestimate the significance of their impairments,

Salvi said.

It is clear that attempts to promote adherence to treatment guidelines have not been very successful and need to be reassessed,he said.

ANURADHA MASCARENHAS

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