Feature Article

Difficult to control asthma in adults

Feature Article

Difficult to control asthma in adults

James Bartlett, Jo Douglass

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Abstract

Asthma continues to be a significant disease burden in Australia and remains a common reason for patients to consult primary care providers.

Key Points

  • Some 5 to 10% of asthma cases are severe and difficult to treat.
  • Frequent use of rescue medication (oral corticosteroid) should prompt review of the patient’s asthma management plan.
  • Alarming features of ongoing deterioration in lung function or corticosteroid dependence should prompt early referral to a specialist centre.
  • Basic blood tests and spirometry may suggest an alternative diagnosis in the individual with difficult to control asthma.
  • Difficult to control asthma is both physically and emotionally draining. Psychological support remains an important task for the primary care physician.