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Eur J Intern Med. 2009 Mar;20(2):114-24. doi: 10.1016/j.ejim.2008.06.010. Epub 2008 Aug 9.

Managing patients with chronic severe asthma: rise to the challenge.

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Dipartimento di Medicina Interna, Ospedale S. Marta, Università di Catania, Catania, Italy.


Most asthmatic patients with moderate to severe disease can be satisfactorily managed with a combination of inhaled corticosteroids and beta(2)-agonists. However, there are perhaps 10% of the asthmatic population with persistent symptoms, impaired quality of life and excessive health-care utilization, despite this management regime. These patients often require frequent and even occasionally regular oral corticosteroid use. Chronic, severe asthma is a heterogeneous disease with distinct sub-phenotypes. A systematic diagnostic work-up may help to identify these distinct sub-phenotypes and this may help guide treatment and may even provide information about prognosis. Optimal treatment of chronic severe asthma should achieve the best possible asthma control and quality of life with the least dose of systemic corticosteroids. The choice and formulation of therapeutic agent is dictated by the severity of disease and includes conventional, immunosuppressive/immunomodulating and biologic therapies. Unfortunately, current asthma management guidelines offer little contribution to the care of the challenging patient with chronic severe asthma. This review article aims at summarizing the evidence regarding various therapeutic modalities for chronic severe asthma and also aims to provide a practical approach to diagnosis and management for the benefit of those who have a specific interest in this problematic condition.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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