Trending Clinical Topic: Asthma

Ryan Syrek

Disclosures

December 13, 2019

Each week, we identify one top search term, speculate as to what caused its popularity, and provide an infographic on a related condition. If you have thoughts about what's trending and why, feel free to share them with us on Twitter or Facebook.

New studies about issues related to pregnancy, concerns about repeated use of corticosteroids, and greenhouse gas emissions helped make asthma this week's top trending clinical topic. Research published in the European Respiratory Journal showed that asthma attacks during pregnancy may increase the risk for complications in both mother and child. The study, which evaluated more than 100,000 pregnancies, found that the children of women who had asthma attacks during pregnancy were also at increased risk for asthma and other respiratory problems in the first 5 years of life.

Results of a separate study found that vaginal delivery and breastfeeding reduced the incidence of allergy and asthma in children up to the age of 18 years. Researchers reviewed the records of nearly 160,000 children and found decreased rates of atopic dermatitis, IgE-mediated food allergy, allergic rhinitis, and asthma among children who were delivered vaginally and breastfed.

Corticosteroids are commonly used to control asthma, but a new study suggests that the risk for adverse effects necessitates using the medication  only when absolutely necessary, especially in younger patients. Researchers examined information on nearly 24,000 patients, aged 2-18 years, with persistent asthma. They found that the risk for an adverse event was 2.9 times higher among patients who received at least four annual prescriptions for systemic corticosteroids than in those who received no prescription. The hope is that proper inhaler use and increased education can reduce exacerbations and the need for steroid prescriptions.

Asthma medication prescriptions were also the focus of another study, which found that physicians can shrink healthcare's carbon footprint and cut drug costs by switching patients with asthma from a metered-dose inhaler to one of the least expensive brands of dry powder inhalers. One study found that five doses from an inhaler could generate the carbon equivalent of a 9-mile car trip, so prescription decisions may have a significant impact. From pregnancy-related concerns to new findings about the consequences of treatment options, plenty of significant news contributed to a focus on asthma this week. 

Read more about asthma.

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