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Pediatr Pulmonol. 2003 Sep;36(3):241-7.

Inhaled corticosteroids in childhood asthma: Income differences in use.

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Department of Community Health Sciences, Manitoba Centre for Health Policy, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.


Asthma hospitalization rates in children increase with decreasing level of household income. This research was undertaken to determine whether use of inhaled corticosteroid drugs, which can prevent asthma hospitalizations, followed a similar socioeconomic gradient in children with asthma. We performed a cross-sectional study of association, using population-based prescription and healthcare data sources. Our subjects were 16,862 Manitoba children, aged 5-15 years, with prescriptions for asthma drugs during January 1995-March 1996. Our measures were adjusted for asthma severity, physician specialty, and proportion of children with an inhaled corticosteroid prescription by neighborhood income. Forty-five percent of children treated for asthma had at least one inhaled corticosteroid prescription during January 1995-March 1996. The proportion of children with inhaled corticosteroid prescriptions decreased with successive decreases in neighborhood income. The socioeconomic gradient in the likelihood of an inhaled corticosteroid prescription was most evident among children with mild-moderate asthma who were not in the care of an asthma specialist. In conclusion, a socioeconomic gradient in the use of inhaled corticosteroids prescriptions can be found among children with universal access to healthcare and drug insurance.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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