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Lung India. 2020 Mar-Apr;37(2):169-173. doi: 10.4103/lungindia.lungindia_308_19.

The global initiative for asthma guidelines (2019): change in the recommendation for the management of mild asthma based on the SYGMA-2 trial - A critical appraisal.

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Department of Chest Medicine, Bombay Hospital and Research Centre, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India.
Department of Clinical Pharmacology, Seth GS Medical College and KEM Hospital, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India.


The Global Initiative for Asthma (GINA) recently released their updated Global Strategy for Asthma Management and Prevention Guide (2019). The pocket guide for practicing clinicians states that "the 2019 GINA strategy report represents the most important change in asthma management in 30 years." An important recommendation is the change in treatment strategy for the management of mild asthma where the guideline recommends that" all adults and adolescents with asthma should receive either symptom driven (in mild asthma) or daily low dose inhaled corticosteroid (ICS) containing controller treatment to reduce the risk of serious exacerbations." Our study critically appraises the SYGMA-2 trial, a key trial that largely formed the basis of this recommendation and discusses the potential consequences of using only long-acting beta-2-agonist + ICS as needed as against regular, daily low-dose ICS with as-needed short-acting beta-2-agonist. Our critique covers airway inflammation, disease heterogeneity, understanding the noninferiority margin and its consequences, the Hawthorne effect, and conflict of interest. It is our view that statement of this magnitude will have far-reaching implications for clinical practice which will be in the interests of some patients but also against the interests of others.


Critique; Global Initiative for Asthma 2019 guidelines; ramifications

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