Using Asthma Medication More Than Ever

Asthma medication usage increased over the last twenty years

(RxWiki News) Over the past 20 years, the number of children with asthma has increased. Luckily, the number of children getting preventative treatment has also increased.

In a new study examining data from 1988 to 2008, researchers discovered that Preventative Asthma Medication (PAM) use has increased over 20 years. Nearly twice as many children with asthma receive PAM. Unfortunately, there are some children who do not receive enough medication.

"Ask your family doctor about what type of PAM is right for your child's asthma."

PAM is medicine used on a daily basis to help treat and manage asthma symptoms. Inhaled corticosteroids are the most common type of PAM and can be used for mild or severe asthma. Brand names for inhaled steroids include Flovent and Pulmicort.

Other types of PAM may be used due to the severity of asthma or lack of response to inhaled corticosteroid treatments.

The study was led by Brian K. Kit, MD, MPH, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics. The study looked at data from 2,499 children aged one to 19. The study looked at data from three time periods, 1988 to 1994, 1999 to 2002 and 2005 to 2008.

PAM usage was only at 17.8 percent in the time period of 1988 to 1994. Between 2005 and 2008, PAM usage was at 34.9 percent. Simply speaking, more children are using PAM than ever before.

PAM usage was less in children aged 12 to 19 than children aged one to five.

While PAM is the highest its ever been there are still children who do not get proper treatment. PAM usage was lower in uninsured children, Non-Hispanic African-American children and Mexican American children. This is a troubling statistic and more research is needed to better understand why PAM usage in lower for these children.

PAM usage is at its peak but chances are even more children will be using PAM twenty years for now. PAM usage may even cross over 50 percent. New treatments, new medication and a better understanding of asthma itself will lead to better daily management of asthma for children.  

This study will be published in the January 2012 edition of Pediatrics.

Review Date: 
December 6, 2011