Older patients with asthma are at increased risk for treatment failure, particularly those patients being treated with inhaled steroids, suggests a new study.
Asthma morbidity and mortality are known to be increased in middle-aged and older patients, and gender may also affect the incidence and course of the disease, but the impact of age and gender on asthma treatment response is not well understood.
"In our study of 1,200 patients with mild-to-moderate asthma, the risk of treatment failure was increased in patients aged 30 and above, and these failure rates increased proportionally with increasing age above age 30 across our study cohort," said study author Michael Wechsler, professor of medicine at the National Jewish Health in Denver, US.
"We also found that the rate of treatment failure did not significantly differ between males and females," Wechsler said.
The findings were published online in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine
The researchers used Asthma Clinical Research Network data on patients participating in 10 trials from 1993 to 2003.
Treatment failures were observed in 17.3% of patients 30 years old and above, compared with 10.3% of those under age 30.
Lower lung function measurements and longer duration of asthma were associated with a higher risk of treatment failure.
When stratified by specific treatment, failures increased consistently for every year above age 30 among those patients using inhaled corticosteroids.
Patients aged 30 and older who were treated with inhaled corticosteroids, either alone or in combination, had more than twice the risk of experiencing a treatment failure compared with patients younger than 30.
Males and females had similar asthma control measures and treatment failure rates.