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Free Content International trends in admissions and drug sales for asthma

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OBJECTIVE: To test whether national patterns of asthma drug use, particularly inhaled corticosteroids (ICS), are related to the rate of acute severe asthma exacerbations.

DESIGN: The relation of international trends in hospital admissions for asthma with asthma drug sales was examined using country-specific regressions over the period 1990–1999. Pooled estimates of the regression coefficients were calculated using random effects models.

RESULTS: Data on asthma admissions and asthma drug sales (including the sub-category ICS) were obtained from 11 countries. There was a negative relationship between falling admissions and rising sales of respiratory drugs and ICS in 9 of these 11 countries. A pooled estimate of the change in asthma admission rate per 10000 associated with a unit increase in sales rate was −6.3 (95%CI −10.4–−2.3) for all asthma drugs and −11.2 (95%CI −19.7–−2.8) for ICS.

CONCLUSION: At the national level, there is good evidence that over the last decade, increased sales of asthma drugs, and ICS in particular, were associated with a decline in rates of hospital admission for asthma. This is consistent with a beneficial effect of increasing use of asthma drugs, but other explanations such as decreasing prevalence could also be responsible.

Keywords: asthma; drug sales; hospital admissions; international; trends

Document Type: Regular Paper

Affiliations: 1: Division of Community Health Sciences, St George's, University of London, London, United Kingdom 2: GlaxoSmithKline, Greenford, London, United Kingdom

Publication date: 2006-02-01

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  • The International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease publishes articles on all aspects of lung health, including public health-related issues such as training programmes, cost-benefit analysis, legislation, epidemiology, intervention studies and health systems research. The IJTLD is dedicated to the continuing education of physicians and health personnel and the dissemination of information on tuberculosis and lung health world-wide.

    Certain IJTLD articles are selected for translation into French, Spanish, Chinese or Russian. They are available on the Union website

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