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Asthma Sufferers Favor Quick Relief

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AHRQ News and Numbers

Release date: January 10, 2007

People who currently 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 the latest News and Numbers summary issued by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).

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

The Federal study further found that among those 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 suffered 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.

AHRQ, which is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, works to enhance the quality, safety, efficiency, and effectiveness of health care in the United States. The data in this AHRQ News and Numbers summary are taken from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS), the Nation's most complete survey of how Americans use and pay for health care, including their health insurance coverage.

For more information on this AHRQ News and Numbers summary, access Asthma Treatment and Management among the U.S. Civilian Noninstitutionalized Population, 2004, MEPS Statistical Brief No. 152 [PDF Help].

For other information, or to speak with an AHRQ data expert, please contact Bob Isquith at or call (301) 427-1539.

Current as of January 2007.


The information on this page is archived and provided for reference purposes only.


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