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Eur Respir J. 2019 Apr 4;53(4). pii: 1802130. doi: 10.1183/13993003.02130-2018. Print 2019 Apr.

Changing prevalence of current asthma and inhaled corticosteroid treatment in the UK: population-based cohort 2006-2016.

Author information

1
Population Health and Occupational Disease, National Heart and Lung Institute, Imperial College London, London, UK.
2
Paediatric Severe Asthma Group, Inflammation, Repair and Development, National Heart and Lung Institute, Imperial College London, London, UK.

Abstract

Asthma is the most common respiratory disorder in the UK, yet we have incomplete knowledge on the prevalence of current disease, treatment and exacerbations.We used UK electronic healthcare records, 2006-2016, to estimate the prevalence of current asthma by year, sex and age (<5, 5-11, 12-17, 18-24, 25-54 and ≥55 years), and the proportion prescribed inhaled corticosteroids (ICS) and additional asthma therapy, treated for exacerbations and other asthma care markers.Overall current asthma prevalence was 6.5% in 2016 (7.2% in 2006). Prevalence fell in those aged <45 years. The lowest prevalence and largest absolute decrease was in children aged <5 years. In 2016, 80% of current asthma patients were managed on ICS (65% in 2006); this increase occurred in all age groups, primarily due to an increase in low-dose ICS. During this time there was an increase in all age groups in the proportion prescribed additional asthma therapy, treated for an exacerbation within primary care and given an annual asthma review or management plan. Hospitalised exacerbations showed minimal change over time.Asthma remains highly prevalent and a significant healthcare burden. In those with a diagnosis, there was an increase in ICS prescriptions and treatment of exacerbations across all age groups. This may reflect a trend towards more aggressive asthma management within primary care. An apparent decline in prevalence was observed in those aged <45 years, particularly in children aged <5 years.

Conflict of interest statement

Conflict of interest: C.I. Bloom has nothing to disclose. Conflict of interest: S. Saglani has nothing to disclose. Conflict of interest: J. Feary reports personal fees from Teva, outside the submitted work. Conflict of interest: D. Jarvis has nothing to disclose. Conflict of interest: J.K. Quint reports grants and personal fees from AZ, grants from MRC, GSK, BLF, The Health Foundation, Insmed, Bayer and Wellcome, personal fees from Chiesi, personal fees and other (paid to Imperial College) from BI, other (paid to Imperial College) from Quintiles IMS and personal fees (paid to Imperial College) from Teva, outside the submitted work.

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