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Electronic Alert May Cut Excessive SABA Prescribing in Asthma

Repeat SABA prescribing for patients with asthma decreased in the 12 months following the alert

TUESDAY, Aug. 25, 2020 (HealthDay News) — An electronic alert may reduce excessive prescribing of short-acting beta2 agonists (SABA) among patients with asthma in primary care, according to a study presented at the European Respiratory Society International Congress 2020, to be held virtually from Sept. 7 to 9.

Noting that an alert to identify excessive prescribing of SABAs was introduced in practices in England in 2015, Shauna McKibben, Ph.D., from Queen Mary University of London, and colleagues examined its effect on SABA prescribing in asthma. Data were included for 18,244 patients aged 5 to 75 years with asthma who were prescribed excessive SABAs.

The researchers found that in the 12 months following the alert, there was a reduction in repeat SABA prescribing (adjusted odds ratio, 0.938; P < 0.001). There was an association for a reduction in SABA prescribing with Black and South Asian ethnicity (adjusted odds ratios, 0.964 and 0.972, respectively; both P < 0.001). No effect was seen for the alert on exacerbations (adjusted odds ratio, 0.988; P = 0.561). After three months following the alert, there was an increase seen in asthma reviews (adjusted odds ratio, 1.120; P = 0.002), while repeat SABA prescribing and exacerbations were reduced at six months (adjusted odds ratios, 0.951 and 0.924, respectively; both P < 0.001).

“An asthma review facilitates the assessment of SABA use and is an important opportunity to improve asthma management,” McKibben said in a statement.

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