The optimal use of medications to achieve asthma control and the importance of regular monitoring and dose adjustment to lessen future risk of exacerbations, accelerated decline in lung function and medication side effects are discussed in the second part of this two-part article.
- Optimal medication prescribing and use involves use of the most appropriate medication, correct device use, treatment adherence and provision of action plans.
- Many patients with asthma can achieve well-controlled disease with relatively low doses of inhaled corticosteroids, whereas others may require more intensive therapy.
- Monitoring asthma control at regular intervals enables medication dose titration to avoid over- or under-treatment.
- Most patients with asthma can be managed in general practice but a significant number will benefit from referral to a respiratory specialist or a multidisciplinary tertiary centre.
- The risk of side effects from long-term inhaled corticosteroids to maintain adequate asthma control is minimal when compared with repeated courses of oral corticosteroids for asthma exacerbations and periods of poor control.