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New guidelines for treating asthma lessen emphasis on inhaler use

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Posted at 1:29 PM, Dec 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-10 15:29:00-05

The way doctors treat asthma in both children and adults just got a major update.

Speaking to the Journal of the American Medical Association, respiratory experts said the changes in guidelines focus on six key areas, including improving asthma diagnosis, management, and treatment.

It’s the first published update in 13 years.

“So, one of the goals of our update was to address the issue of who can use intermittent inhaled corticosteroids and when used, are they as effective as daily use,” said Michelle M. Cloutier, MD with UConn Health.

One of the biggest changes is that many patients may not need to use an inhaler every day anymore.

“Especially those families of young children who don’t necessarily buy into using daily medication when their children are having intermittent symptoms,” said Stephanie Lovinsky-Desir, MD, MS with Columbia University Irving Medical Center.

The new recommendations for inhaler use vary by age and severity of asthma, so it’s important to talk to your doctor about the new guidelines.

Asthma affects nearly 5% of adults and 10% of children.

During the pandemic, because of the higher death rate of asthma patients from COVID-19, more people have been seeking treatment for the condition.

The average annual cost of asthma per person is more than $3,200. But research has also shown among other things, regular use of medication and flu vaccines can reduce the chances of someone with asthma being hospitalized, driving up those costs.