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N Z Med J. 1993 Mar 10;106(951):81-3.

Prescribing for childhood asthma in the Wellington area: comparison with international guidelines.

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Department of Medicine, Wellington School of Medicine.



An international paediatric asthma consensus group has outlined the rational approach to the treatment of childhood asthma. We have examined the prescription of asthma treatment to children in Wellington to assess to what extent these guidelines have been adopted by general practitioners.


During the period 1 May-11 June 1991, the prescriptions for 228 asthmatic children, dispensed at 30 randomly selected pharmacies in the greater Wellington area, were reviewed.


Eighty-four per cent of the children were prescribed beta 2 adrenoceptor agonists. Of these, 80% of those under five years, and 27% over five years of age, received these agents by the oral route. In almost half, these drugs were prescribed on a regular basis. Fifty-two per cent of patients were prescribed some form of antiinflammatory therapy (inhaled or oral steroids, ketotifen or sodium cromoglycate). Only 2% received sodium cromoglycate.


Although approximately half of these children received some form of antiinflammatory therapy, the minimal use of sodium cromoglycate, and high frequency of regular scheduled beta 2 adrenoceptor agonist use, suggests that the guidelines for asthma management in children may not have been widely adopted by primary care physicians in Wellington.

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