FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Monday, March 7, 2022
American Academy of Family Physicians
LEAWOOD, Kan. — Twenty-five million Americans battle asthma, with many experiencing complications that affect quality of life and their ability to perform daily activities. An array of psychosocial and socioeconomic factors contributes to the disproportionate rates of asthma-related illness and death in Black and Latinx people, often making it difficult to improve asthma management. These factors include everything from air quality to education, as well as access to needed care. In addition, these populations have typically been underrepresented in research studies to determine the best treatments for asthma.
Annual costs for asthma in adults in the U.S. total more than $67 billion and are substantially higher in patients with uncontrolled asthma. That’s why the American Academy of Family Physicians National Research Network (AAFP NRN) spent the past five years participating in a clinical study to assess whether a new inhaler treatment protocol, in conjunction with usual care and provider education, can lessen symptoms and improve quality of life for Black and Latinx people living with asthma. The article, “Reliever-Triggered Inhaled Glucocorticoid in Black and Latinx Adults with Asthma,” was recently published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
For its part in the Person Empowered Asthma Relief (PREPARE) trial, the AAFP NRN received $6.5 million in funding from the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute to help pulmonary and primary care practices across the country recruit Black and Latinx adults with moderate-to-severe asthma. The team then trained physicians and their teams to implement and assess whether a patient-activated, reliever-triggered inhaled glucocorticoid (PARTICS) strategy, plus continuing usual care and medications, lessened asthma symptoms and improved quality of life. Drug safety was also assessed.
Results of the study are encouraging. Of 1,201 adults (603 Black and 598 Latinx), 600 were assigned to the intervention group and given the PARTICS inhaler, one-time training, and continued to receive usual care. Patients in this group experienced lower rates of severe asthma flareups than those in the control group. This is good news for Black and Latinx people, of which 25 million are afflicted with the disease and account for 50 percent of asthma health care costs in our nation.
“The PARTICS treatment strategy was shown to reduce asthma symptoms and improve quality of life for Black and Latinx people with asthma, which is what we hoped to achieve,” said Wilson Pace, MD, co-author and co-investigator for the AAFP NRN. “While other approaches have shown success, they tend to be complex and expensive. The PARTICS approach is easy to use and low cost, which makes this an exciting, viable and equitable treatment option for all patient populations.”
The AAFP NRN acknowledges more work is needed to determine how best to care for populations who suffer disproportionately from asthma, but this study adds to the recent guideline updates that including ICS as part of rescue therapy improves outcomes.
“Asthma can be a miserable disease for many people, but we’ve demonstrated how it can be treated and well managed in two highly impacted populations,” said Jennifer Carroll, MD, MPH, co-author and co-investigator for the AAFP NRN. “We encourage patients suffering from asthma to talk with their family physician about different strategies to manage their asthma symptoms. A patient-activated, reliever-triggered inhaled glucocorticoid could be part of the solution.”
About American Academy of Family Physicians
Founded in 1947, the AAFP represents 129,600 physicians and medical students nationwide. It is the largest medical society devoted solely to primary care. Family physicians conduct approximately one in five office visits -- that’s 192 million visits annually or 48 percent more than the next most visited medical specialty. Today, family physicians provide more care for America’s underserved and rural populations than any other medical specialty. Family medicine’s cornerstone is an ongoing, personal patient-physician relationship focused on integrated care. To learn more about the specialty of family medicine and the AAFP's positions on issues and clinical care, visit www.aafp.org. For information about health care, health conditions and wellness, please visit the AAFP’s consumer website, www.familydoctor.org.