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Prescribing of β-adrenoceptor antagonists in asthma: an observational study

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Author(s)

Daniel Ramon Morales, Bruce Guthrie, Brian J. Lipworth, Peter T. Donnan, Catherine Miriam Jackson

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Abstract

Background beta-Antagonists have recently been proposed for the treatment of chronic asthma; however, concerns regarding risk of acute bronchoconstriction in clinical trials remain.

Objective To determine the frequency of oral beta-blocker prescribing in patients with asthma and associations with severe asthma exacerbations requiring oral steroids in patients with active asthma defined by prior asthma-related medication use.

Methods Patients with asthma registered on 31 March 2007 and all asthma-related medications from the preceding 2 years were identified from anonymised clinical data from one-third of Scottish general practices. The main outcome measure was the relative incidence of active asthma patients receiving oral steroids following a new oral beta-antagonist prescription.

Results Of the 53 994 adult patients identified with asthma 1527 (2.8%; 95% CI 2.69% to 2.97%) patients were prescribed an oral beta-antagonist of which 441 (28.9%, 95% CI 26.7% to 31.2%) had active asthma and received a new beta-blocker prescription. The average number of patients prescribed rescue steroids at baseline in 367 patients with sufficient follow-up was 3.4 (0.9%) patients every 2 weeks. Rescue steroids were prescribed to 3 (0.8%) patients in the first 2 weeks and to 3 (0.8%) patients in the second 2 weeks following the new oral beta-antagonist (incidence rate ratio (IRR) 0.87, 95% CI 0.25 to 2.99 and IRR 0.89, 95% CI 0.26 to 2.97, respectively). No significant difference was found following stratification for beta-antagonist selectivity.

Conclusion These results suggest that prescribing new oral beta-blockers for the purpose of investigating potentially beneficial effects of chronic treatment would not lead to large increases in patients treated with oral steroids acutely in general practice.

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Details

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)502-507
Number of pages6
JournalThorax
Volume66
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2011

    Research areas

  • BLOCKERS, PROPRANOLOL, MODEL, RESPONSIVENESS, AGONISTS, DISEASE

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