INTRODUCTION: Global Initiative for Asthma (GINA) recommends medium- or high-dose inhaled corticosteroid-long-acting β2-agonist (ICS-LABA) as preferred treatments for patients with moderate-to-severe asthma. Limited data is available on how step 4/5 patients respond to ICS-LABA and how they step up/down in clinical practice.
METHODS: This retrospective cohort study assessed the characteristics, control status, treatment pathways, and healthcare resource utilization in patients with asthma during one year after initiating medium- or high-dose ICS-LABA. Data from the United Kingdom Clinical Practice Research Datalink were analysed between January 01, 2006 and February 28, 2016.
RESULTS: Overall, 29,229 and 16,575 patients initiated medium- and high-dose ICS-LABA, and 35.1% and 45.7% of patients, respectively, remained uncontrolled. The proportions of patients who were adherent to treatment (Medication Possession Ratio ≥80%) were 37.8% and 49.1% in the medium- and high-dose ICS-LABA cohorts, respectively. Among these adherent patients, 63.8% in the medium- and 70% in the high-dose cohorts remained uncontrolled. In patients who stepped up therapy in the medium-dose cohort (19.0%), the common step-up choices were add-on leukotriene receptor antagonist (LTRA) (42.2%), long-acting muscarinic antagonist (LAMA) (23.3%), and increase in ICS dose (22.9%). In patients who stepped up therapy in the high-dose cohort (26.1%), the common step-up choices were add-on LAMA (43.8%) and LTRA (42.1%). Healthcare resource utilization was higher in uncontrolled patients, regardless of the ICS-LABA dose.
CONCLUSIONS: Many patients remain uncontrolled on both medium- or high-dose ICS-LABA, highlighting the need for timely assessment of asthma control to increase treatment intensity, following evidence-based treatment pathways.