A new study published in The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology says that stepping down asthma medicines can be done safely and at less cost for patients.
Sometimes, patients and doctors test out if taking less daily asthma medicine is safe or not - mainly because of the high cost of the medicines. However, deciding when to step down daily asthma medications can be challenging.
The study, led by Matthew Rank, M.D., an allergy and immunology specialist at Mayo Clinic in Arizona, examined the outcomes after patients stepped down their daily asthma medicines.
The study involved more than 4,000 patients who were taking daily asthma medicines. The research mainly focused on two groups: individuals who had stable asthma for one year who made no change in their daily asthma medication and individuals who had stable asthma for one year who stepped down their daily asthma medication.
Stepping down asthma medications in patients who have had stable asthma for at least one year is as safe as continuing the same level of medicines, the study found. About 11% of participants had issues with their asthma in the 4-5 months after stepping down their asthma medications.
"Trying to reduce the daily asthma medicine speaks to the principle of using the least amount of medicine to control symptoms and prevent attacks. This study is important because many people with asthma may be able to safely reduce their asthma medicines with the appropriate guidance from their healthcare teams. Many patients try to step down on their own but we encourage patients to work with their doctors before doing so," Dr. Rank said.