SABINA: An Overview of Short-Acting β 2 -Agonist Use in Asthma in European Countries

Christer Janson, Andrew Menzies-Gow, Cassandra Nan, Javier Nuevo, Alberto Papi, Jennifer K Quint, Santiago Quirce, Claus F Vogelmeier
Advances in Therapy 2020 January 24

INTRODUCTION: Globally, individuals with asthma tend to overrely on short-acting β2 -agonists (SABAs) and underuse inhaled corticosteroids, thereby undertreating the underlying inflammation. Such relief-seeking behavior has been reinforced by long-standing treatment guidelines, which until recently recommended SABA-only use for immediate symptom relief. We aimed to describe the current burden of SABA use among European individuals with asthma within the SABA use IN Asthma (SABINA) program.

METHODS: Prescription and/or dispensing data during 2006-2017 from electronic medical records and/or national patient registries in the United Kingdom (UK), Germany, Italy, Spain, and Sweden were analyzed. Individuals aged at least 12 years old with a current asthma diagnosis and no other chronic respiratory conditions were included. Asthma treatment step and severity were based on treatment guidelines in use in each individual country. The proportion of individuals prescribed SABA was measured during a 12-month period. SABA overuse was defined as at least three SABA canisters per year.

RESULTS: More than one million individuals with asthma were included across five European countries. Overall, the majority of individuals were over 45 years of age, except in Sweden (mean age 27.6 years) where individuals aged over 45 years were excluded to avoid a potential chronic obstructive pulmonary disease co-diagnosis. The study population was predominantly female (55-64%), except in the UK (46%). The prevalence of SABA overuse was 9% in Italy, 16% in Germany, 29% in Spain, 30% in Sweden, and 38% in the UK. In the UK, SABA overuse was greater in individuals with moderate-to-severe asthma versus individuals with mild asthma (58% versus 27%, respectively), while SABA overuse was similar in individuals with both mild (9-32%) and moderate-to-severe (8-31%) asthma in the other European countries.

CONCLUSIONS: The findings of this study from the SABINA program show that SABA overuse (at least three canisters per year) is common across Europe, despite the different healthcare and reimbursement policies of each country.


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