The National Asthma Education and Prevention Program (NAEPP) released updated clinical guidelines for the diagnosis and management of asthma on August 29, 2007.
These guidelines are the most comprehensive updates in almost a decade and include recommendations for childhood asthma (expanded section), new guidance on medications, patient education in settings beyond the physician's office, and advice for controlling environmental factors that can cause asthma symptoms.
The lifetime prevalence table above indicates an upward trend with 2006 lifetime prevalence of 116 per 1,000 persons. Additionally, the current prevalence of asthma indicates an upward trend with a 2006 current prevalence of 77.9 per 1,000 persons.
The guidelines reflect the need to assist in the diagnostic, appropriate treatments, and continued follow-up to monitor asthma patients. After long-term therapy has been initiated following spirometry assessment, the guidelines recommend continued assessment in 2 to 6 weeks based on asthma severity. If asthma control is not achieved, step-up therapy, discontinuation, and initiation of new therapy, increasing short-acting beta-agonists, and a short course of oral systemic corticosteroids are all part of the recommendations in the continued assessment for the patient.
With the prevalence of asthma attacks increasing over time (Table) and the economic impact of treating asthma patients, it will be interesting to measure adherence to the new guidelines and evaluate the clinical and economic impact of the guidelines.
The tables below provide the most recent information regarding investigational drugs for asthma indication. Table 1 shows the majority (~74%) of asthma investigational drugs early in the investigational pipeline (phase 1 or earlier). Table 2 highlights the top 7 mechanisms for asthma investigational drugs, representing more than 40% of all investigational mechanisms.