[The quality of asthma treatment in Denmark. How far are we—and how far are our patients?]

Charlotte Suppli Ulrik, Peter Lange, Peter P Plaschke, Vibeke Backer, Ulrik Søes-Petersen, Henrik Harving
Ugeskrift for Laeger 2008 January 21, 170 (4): 230-4

INTRODUCTION: Despite the availability of safe and effective therapies for asthma, many patients have sub-optimal asthma control.

AIM: To assess the current status with regard to the treatment and monitoring of adult asthmatics and to identify factors of importance for compliance with controller therapy.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: Based on information from focus group interviews, we developed a questionnaire focusing on knowledge of asthma, compliance and therapy. The participants (n = 509) answered the questionnaire over the Internet.

RESULTS: Approximately 70% of patients were treated with inhaled corticosteroids (ICS), whereas 25% were only treated with a short-acting beta2-agonist, 20% of whom had severe asthma. In the preceding year, 46% of patients had their lung function measured. Up to 25% of patients stated that they forgot or deliberately decided not to take their ICS at least twice a week. The most frequent reason for non-compliance was lack of asthma symptoms. Non-compliance was associated with disagreement with the statement that ICS is an essential part of asthma therapy (p<0.002). Self-assessed asthma severity was positively associated with regular scheduled doctor visits (p<0.001) and good compliance (p<0.001).

CONCLUSION: The treatment and monitoring of asthma in Denmark is not in accordance with guidelines, e.g. with regard to patient education and the use of spirometry. Non-compliance with controller therapy is frequent, and the reasons seem to be accessible through education of both patients and doctors.

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