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Asthma sufferers favor quick relief

People who have asthma are much more likely to rely on drugs that offer quick relief for symptoms such as shortness of breath, wheezing, or coughing, than medications for long-term control, according to a new report by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

Approximately 31 percent of sufferers say that they use quick-relief medications to control symptoms of asthma, compared with about 14 percent who rely on longer-term preventive medicines for control. Another 31 percent use both types of medications and 24 percent use none.

The Federal study further found that among people whose asthma was active when surveyed:

  • More than one-fourth reported having a peak flow meter at home for measuring their ability to expel air from their lungs.
  • Nearly half (48 percent) of adults said they had at least one asthma attack within the previous 12 months.
  • Women were more likely to have asthma attacks than men – 50 percent versus 40 percent.

The data in this report come from the Agency's Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, a highly detailed source of information on the health services that Americans use, how frequently they use them, the cost of these services, and how they are paid. For more information, see Asthma Treatment and Management among the U.S. Civilian Noninstitutionalized Population, 2004, MEPS Statistical Brief #152, at [PDF Help].

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