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Am Fam Physician. 2000 Apr 15;61(8):2419-28, 2433-4.

Developing and communicating a long-term treatment plan for asthma.

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Pediatric Pulmonary Division, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York, New York 10032, USA.


The treatment of asthma, according to current guidelines, requires complex treatment regimens that change as clinical conditions improve or deteriorate. We have developed a practical way to communicate long-term treatment plans in chart form in the primary care setting that is easy for patients to follow and use. The chart has been an important element in two interventions that have resulted in positive changes in health behavior and health outcomes in children with asthma. The plan provides recommendations for patients and families to make adjustments in medication based on changes in symptoms or peak expiratory air flow, or both, that are consistent with the Asthma Guidelines Expert Panel Report 2, 1997. The plan also indicates when the number and dosage of drugs should be increased or decreased and when emergency care should be sought, consistent with the Asthma Guidelines. By placing considerable control in the family's hands and by clearly delineating the conditions under which medicines can be reduced or discontinued, the physician provides incentives for families to adhere to the long-term treatment plan for asthma.

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