Asthma medications can be safely reduced, researchers say, with a doctor’s guidance.
Examining data on over 4,000 adults and children taking daily asthma medicines, researchers focused on two groups whose asthma had been stable for a year; the first group stepped down meds, while the second continued at the same level. The study found that 89.4 percent of those who reduced medications maintained asthma control, compared to 83.5 percent of those who stayed the course.
Likewise, the number of missed school and work days were no different between those who stepped down and those who maintained their current treatment levels.
The study was published in October in The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.
The research marked the first costs associated with stepping down asthma medications have been examined. An overall direct cost savings of $34 each month was observed for those who were eligible and successfully stepped down, which could lead to decreased costs associated with asthma care, researchers say.
While encouraging, Dr. Matthew Rank, an immunology specialist at the Mayo Clinic in Arizona, urged caution.
“A good candidate who is ready to step down his or her asthma controller medications should work with their doctor to safely initiate this,” Rank said. “Many patients try to step down on their own, but we highly encourage them to consult with their doctor first.”