Published September 12, 2012
For the approximately 25 million Americans who suffer from mild- to moderate asthma, they may not need to take a daily dose of medication, HealthDay News reported.
To treat asthma, doctors typically prescribe a daily dose of anti-inflammatory inhaled steroids, even when there are no symptoms present. The most current and widely used regimen includes a twice-a-day use of an inhaled corticosteroid coupled with the use of emergency medication, such as albuterol, should the need arise.
However, a study published Wednesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association found no difference in the outcome of patients who used their inhaled steroid medication daily versus only those who used it only when flare-ups occurred, according to HealthDay News.
More than 300 adults, showing signs of mild- to moderate asthma, participated in the study. The control group was constantly monitored and received ongoing care from a physician, while the rest of the participants were split into either continuous care, based on periodic breath tests measuring their levels of nitric oxide or more sporadic care when flare-ups occurred.
The results of each care procedure was recorded for nine months based on airway or bronchial activity, lung function, worsening of symptoms/attacks and days missed from work or school.
The data indicated there were no discernible differences in outcomes of the participants.
"The discovery that these two courses of treatment do not differ significantly could eventually change the way doctors and patients manage asthma, providing an option that is easier to follow and possibly less expensive," lead author Dr. William Calhoun, professor and vice chair for research in internal medicine at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, said in a released statement. "Our findings build on a considerable foundation of research in the field and come at a time when asthma cases are rising at an alarming rate, especially in lower-income communities.”