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Asthma exacerbation rates


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New data from the Mundipharma International sponsored REALISE(™) survey, presented today at the European Respiratory Society (ERS) annual congress, show that an alarming 45% of all respondents reported experiencing acute asthma exacerbations requiring oral steroid use in the past 12 months, and this was evident even amongst those meeting the GINA criteria for current clinical control.(1,2) Asthma exacerbations are associated with significant societal costs and a negative impact on the day-to-day lives of patients.(3,4) The latest insights signal a need to address the problem through greater understanding of patient experiences of asthma to help achieve better disease control.
The REALISE(™) (REcognise Asthma and LInk to Symptoms and Experience) survey was conducted in 8,000 people with asthma aged 18-50 across 11 countries.(1) More than a third (35%) of respondents who met the GINA criteria for current clinical control (20% of survey population) had experienced symptoms on one or two days in the previous week1 and 7% had been treated in hospital emergency departments in the last year due to the severity of their symptoms.(2)
Almost one-in-eight (12%) respondents to the REALISE(™) survey reported that they had been hospitalised and had to stay overnight because of their asthma once or more in the past year,1 which can result in substantial costs to healthcare systems.(5) In Germany, for example, the average cost of a hospital stay between two and seven days is estimated to be €1,402.25*.(6) Further results from the REALISE(™) survey suggested that more than a third of people with asthma (36%) have had at least one day off work or education due to their condition in the past year.(1) Using average annual salaries for the EU5 countries (France, Germany, Italy, Spain, UK), each missed day of work is estimated to cost an average of €146 per person due to loss of productivity.(7) Another finding from the REALISE(™) survey highlighted the limitations asthma can place on peoples’ lives with one third of respondents (33%) saying asthma stops them living their life to the full.(1) These findings suggest that there remains a need to accurately assess asthma symptoms and experiences in everyday clinical practice to reduce the burden of disease for the estimated 30 million people in Western Europe who have asthma.(4)
REALISE(™) survey experts have suggested that gaining a greater understanding of patient needs, attitudes and experiences of asthma may help to improve levels of asthma control. The REALISE(™) findings suggested that factors affecting patients’ mindset towards asthma and its management, such as confidence in managing asthma, knowledge about treatments, and concordance with healthcare professional advice, may affect how well patients respond to disease management. Although 24% of REALISE(™) respondents were treated in hospital emergency departments in the 12 months prior to the survey, this figure ranged from 8% to 45% based on the patient’s mindset.1 Understanding the variation in asthma patient experiences and mindsets could support the development of personalised asthma action plans with the aim of improving disease control, in line with clinical best practice.(8,9)
“REALISE highlights that the way patients describe the impact of their condition is inconsistent with their actual experience of symptoms, lifestyle limitations and exacerbations. And this is seen across healthcare systems in Europe. I think a new model for engaging with our patients is required. An approach which seeks to understand patient attitudes and experiences in a way that works for them, for example, through the use of online resources, could make a difference in addressing this disconnect and ultimately improve the way asthma is managed” explained Professor David Price, University of Aberdeen, UK.
Mundipharma International is committed to ongoing collaboration with experts across Europe to drive the development of better disease management strategies in asthma with the ultimate aim of reducing the individual and societal burden of this debilitating condition.
  1. Mundipharma International Limited data on file: REALISE – European Asthma Patient Survey Results, 2012.
  2. Price, D., van der Molen, T., Fletcher, M. Exacerbations and symptoms remain common in patients with asthma control: a survey of 8000 patients in Europe. Abstract presented at ERS 2013 Sept 7-11; Barcelona, Spain.
  3. Hoskins, G., McGowan, C., Neville, R.G., Thomas, G.E., Smith, B., Silverman, S. Risk factors and costs associated with an asthma attack. Thorax 2000;55;19-24.
  4. Braman, S. The Global Burden of Asthma. Chest 2006;130:4S-12S.
  5. Bahadori, K., Doyle-Waters, M., Marra, C., Lynd, L., Alasaly, K., Swiston, J. Economic burden of asthma: a systematic review. BMC Pulmonary Medicine 2009;
  6. Universitätsklinikum Münster DRG Research Group, Medizinisches Management. http://drg.uni- [Last accessed 1 August 2013].
  7. Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. Stat Extracts. Average annual wages. [Last accessed 1 August 2013].
  8. Global Initiative for Asthma (GINA). Global strategy for asthma management and prevention (updated 2012). [Last accessed 1 August 2013].
  9. Van der Molen, T., Fletcher, M., Price, D. Asthma and its management: identifying distinct patient attitudinal clusters. Abstract presented at IPCRG 2013 May 24; Uppsala, Sweden.

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