Professor Tim Harrison has just spoken at the European Respiratory Society Congress in Paris on Quadrupling the inhaled glucocorticoid dose to abort asthma exacerbations.
He was one of three researchers discussing the data of their recent randomised controlled trials that explored the ability of intensified inhaled corticosteroid (ICS) therapy to prevent exacerbations in patients with asthma and COPD who present with acute poor symptom control or upper respiratory tract infections.
Prof Harrisons FAST study in which he collaborated with Asthma UK looked at whether a modified self-management plan advising patients to temporarily quadruple the use of their steroid inhaler when asthma symptoms start to worsen would be better at preventing severe asthma attacks (use of oral steroids or unscheduled visits to the doctor) then usual clinical care self-management plans.
The trial has shown that patients who temporarily quadruple their dose of inhaled corticosteroid when asthma control starts to deteriorate resulted in fewer severe asthma exacerbations than a plan in which the dose is not increased.
Feedback from the discussion showed that 70% of the audience said they would now recommend this approach for their patients. The research results were published in The New England Journal of Medicine 378; 10 on 8th March 2018