Long-term adherence to inhaled corticosteroids and asthma control in adult-onset asthma

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Background: In short-term studies, poor adherence to inhaled corticosteroids (ICS) has been associated with worse asthma control, but the association of long-term adherence and disease control remains unclear.

Objective: To assess the relationship between 12-year adherence to ICS and asthma control in patients with adult-onset asthma.

Methods: As part of the Seinäjoki Adult Asthma Study, 181 patients with clinically confirmed new-onset adult asthma and regular ICS medication were followed-up for 12 years. Adherence (%) to ICS was assessed individually ((µg dispensed/µg prescribed)×100) during the follow-up. Asthma control was evaluated after 12 years of treatment according to the Global Initiative for Asthma 2010 guideline.

Results: Asthma was controlled in 31% and not controlled (partly controlled or uncontrolled) in 69% of the patients. Patients with not-controlled asthma were more often male, older, nonatopic and used higher doses of ICS than those with controlled disease. The mean±sd 12-year adherence to ICS was 63±38% in patients with controlled asthma and 76±40% in patients with not-controlled disease (p=0.042). Among patients with not-controlled asthma, those with lower 12-year adherence (<80%) had more rapid decline in forced expiratory volume in 1 s (-47 mL·year-1) compared to patients with better adherence (≥80%) (-40 mL·year-1) (p=0.024). In contrast, this relationship was not seen in patients with controlled asthma.

Conclusions: In adult-onset asthma, patients with not-controlled disease showed better 12-year adherence to ICS treatment than those with controlled asthma. In not-controlled disease, adherence <80% was associated with more rapid lung function decline, underscoring the importance of early recognition of such patients in routine clinical practice.

Original languageEnglish
JournalErj Open Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2021
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

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