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Prescribing patterns for asthma by general practitioners in six European countries

Lookup NU author(s): Catherine Jepson, Dr Tim Butler, Karen Jones


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To assess the level of concordance with international consensus on asthma management, we compared primary care prescribing patterns for asthma in different European countries. A prospective study of prescription items with an associated diagnostic label of asthma in patient consultations with a total of 235 general practitioners (GPs) from Belgium, England, Ireland, Italy, Northern Ireland, Portugal, Scotland and Spain was performed. A total of 101 544 consecutive consultations were recorded in autumns 1994 and 1995 of which 3595 (3·5%) were for patients with asthma and 3243 (3·2%) were for patients receiving a prescription for asthma. Overall, asthma consultations varied from 1·8% in Italy to 5·8% in Ireland (mean 3·4%, SD 1·6). Prescribed inhaled medications for children varied from 72% of the total asthma prescriptions in Ireland and Portugal to 82% in Northern Ireland (mean 79%, SD 8·1) and for adults 55% in Italy to 85% in Spain (mean 70%, SD 10). Inhaled corticosteroid usage for adults varied from 14% in Italy to 31% in Northern Ireland (mean 24%, SD 6·4). For children, β2-agonist use varied from 24% in Italy to 67% in Spain (mean 45%, SD 13). Despite publication of international guidelines for the management of asthma, inter-country prescribing practices vary considerably and could be improved. The frequency of use of asthma as a diagnostic label also varies markedly.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Jepson G, Butler T, Gregory D, Jones K

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Respiratory Medicine

Year: 2000

Volume: 94

Issue: 6

Pages: 578-583

ISSN (print): 0954-6111

ISSN (electronic): 1532-3064

Publisher: Elsevier


DOI: 10.1053/rmed.2000.0782

PubMed id: 10921763


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