National Jewish Health study: African American children respond differently to asthma medications

28 Sep

The Mayo Clinic provides a concise definition of Asthma:

Overview
Asthma attack
Asthma is a condition in which your airways narrow and swell and produce extra mucus. This can make breathing difficult and trigger coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath.
For some people, asthma is a minor nuisance. For others, it can be a major problem that interferes with daily activities and may lead to a life-threatening asthma attack.
Asthma can’t be cured, but its symptoms can be controlled. Because asthma often changes over time, it’s important that you work with your doctor to track your signs and symptoms and adjust treatment as needed. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/asthma/symptoms-causes/syc-20369653

The National Center for Health Statistics has stats on health related issues.

According to the National Center for Health Statistics:

Asthma
Data are for the U.S.
Morbidity
• Number of adults aged 18 and over who currently have asthma: 19.0 million
• Percent of adults aged 18 and over who currently have asthma: 7.7%
Source: Summary Health Statistics Tables for U.S. Adults: National Health Interview Survey, 2017, tables A-2b, A-2c pdf icon[PDF – 137 KB]
• Number of children under age 18 years who currently have asthma: 6.2 million
• Percent of children under age 18 years who currently have asthma: 8.4%
Source: Summary Health Statistics Tables for U.S. Children: National Health Interview Survey, 2017, tables C-1b, C-1c pdf icon[PDF – 99.8 KB]
Physician office visits
• Percent of visits to office-based physicians with asthma indicated on the medical record: 7.1%
Source: National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey: 2016 National Summary Tables, tables 18 pdf icon[PDF – 793 KB]
Emergency department visits
• Percent of visits to emergency departments with asthma indicated on the medical record: 10.1%
Source: National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey: 2016 Emergency Department Summary Tables, table 13 pdf icon[PDF – 738 KB]
Mortality
• Number of deaths: 3,564
• Deaths per 100,000 population: 1.1
Source: Deaths: Final Data for 2017, Supplemental Tables, tables I-12, I-13 pdf icon[PDF – 2 MB]
https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/asthma.htm

According to a study by National Jewish Health, African-American children respond differently to different medications for asthma.

Resources:

Need Help Managing Your Asthma? https://www.asthma.com/?bing=e_&rotation=71700000038361464&banner=58700004208867532&kw=34938313622&cc=6A9489DC2E35&pid=43700012675028871&gclid=CLygyM2c9OQCFYOngQodxLwFHQ&gclsrc=ds
Asthma: Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment https://www.webmd.com/asthma/what-is-asthma

Asthma | National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/asthma

Science Daily reported in African American children respond differently to asthma medications:

African Americans suffer asthma more often and more severely than Caucasian patients. However, clinical trials that have shaped treatment guidelines have included few African Americans. A new report demonstrates a shortcoming of that history. Researchers at National Jewish Health and their colleagues around the nation in the National Heart, Lung & Blood Institute’s AsthmaNet report that African American children respond differently than African American adults and Caucasian adults and children to step-up therapies for inadequately controlled asthma.
“Asthma is a tremendously variable disease,” said Michael Wechsler, MD, professor of medicine at National Jewish Health and first author on the study published in the New England Journal of Medicine. “We need to more closely study subgroups of asthma patients, especially those disproportionately burdened by disease, such as African Americans.”
The researchers evaluated 280 children, ages 5-11, and 294 adolescents/adults of African American ancestry whose asthma was inadequately controlled with low doses of inhaled corticosteroids. Treatment guidelines call for adding a long-acting beta agonist as the preferred step-up therapy. Researchers several medication strategies — adding long-acting beta agonists, increasing inhaled steroids alone and both increasing inhaled steroids and adding long-acting beta agonists.
The researchers measured response by evaluating several factors including exacerbations, asthma control days and lung function.
More adult African Americans responded better to adding long-acting beta agonists (49 percent) versus increasing inhaled steroids alone (28 percent). Caucasians have shown a similar response in previous trials.
However, even numbers of African American children responded better to increasing the dose of inhaled corticosteroids along (46 percent) and adding long-acting beta agonists (46 percent).
“These results indicate that asthma treatment guidelines do not necessarily apply to African American children and that physicians should consider alternatives,” said Dr. Wechsler. “We need to do a better job of understanding how different subgroups respond to asthma treatment….” https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/09/190927135119.htm

Citation:

African American children respond differently to asthma medications
BARD trial suggests shortcomings in treatment guidelines and demonstrates need for trials of specific subgroups

Date: September 27, 2019
Source: National Jewish Health
Summary:
African Americans suffer asthma more often and more severely than Caucasian patients. However, clinical trials that have shaped treatment guidelines have included few African Americans. A new report demonstrates a shortcoming of that history. Researchers report that African American children respond differently than African American adults and Caucasian adults and children to step-up therapies for inadequately controlled asthma.

Journal Reference:
Michael E. Wechsler, Stanley J. Szefler, Victor E. Ortega, Jacqueline A. Pongracic, Vernon Chinchilli, John J. Lima, Jerry A. Krishnan, Susan J. Kunselman, David Mauger, Eugene R. Bleecker, Leonard B. Bacharier, Avraham Beigelman, Mindy Benson, Kathryn V. Blake, Michael D. Cabana, Juan-Carlos Cardet, Mario Castro, James F. Chmiel, Ronina Covar, Loren Denlinger, Emily DiMango, Anne M. Fitzpatrick, Deborah Gentile, Nicole Grossman, Fernando Holguin, Daniel J. Jackson, Harsha Kumar, Monica Kraft, Craig F. LaForce, Jason Lang, Stephen C. Lazarus, Robert F. Lemanske, Dayna Long, Njira Lugogo, Fernando Martinez, Deborah A. Meyers, Wendy C. Moore, James Moy, Edward Naureckas, J. Tod Olin, Stephen P. Peters, Wanda Phipatanakul, Loretta Que, Hengameh Raissy, Rachel G. Robison, Kristie Ross, William Sheehan, Lewis J. Smith, Julian Solway, Christine A. Sorkness, Lisa Sullivan-Vedder, Sally Wenzel, Steven White, Elliot Israel. Step-Up Therapy in Black Children and Adults with Poorly Controlled Asthma. New England Journal of Medicine, 2019; 381 (13): 1227 DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa1905560

Here is the press report from National Jewish Health:

NEWS RELEASE 27-SEP-2019
African American children respond differently to asthma medications
BARD trial suggests shortcomings in treatment guidelines and demonstrates need for trials of specific subgroups
NATIONAL JEWISH HEALTH
African Americans suffer asthma more often and more severely than Caucasian patients. However, clinical trials that have shaped treatment guidelines have included few African Americans. A new report demonstrates a shortcoming of that history. Researchers at National Jewish Health and their colleagues around the nation in the National Heart, Lung & Blood Institute’s AsthmaNet report that African American children respond differently than African American adults and Caucasian adults and children to step-up therapies for inadequately controlled asthma.
“Asthma is a tremendously variable disease,” said Michael Wechsler, MD, professor of medicine at National Jewish Health and first author on the study published in the New England Journal of Medicine. “We need to more closely study subgroups of asthma patients, especially those disproportionately burdened by disease, such as African Americans.”
The researchers evaluated 280 children, ages 5-11, and 294 adolescents/adults of African American ancestry whose asthma was inadequately controlled with low doses of inhaled corticosteroids. Treatment guidelines call for adding a long-acting beta agonist as the preferred step-up therapy. Researchers several medication strategies – adding long-acting beta agonists, increasing inhaled steroids alone and both increasing inhaled steroids and adding long-acting beta agonists.
The researchers measured response by evaluating several factors including exacerbations, asthma control days and lung function.
More adult African Americans responded better to adding long-acting beta agonists (49 percent) versus increasing inhaled steroids alone (28 percent). Caucasians have shown a similar response in previous trials.
However, even numbers of African American children responded better to increasing the dose of inhaled corticosteroids along (46 percent) and adding long-acting beta agonists (46 percent).
“These results indicate that asthma treatment guidelines do not necessarily apply to African American children and that physicians should consider alternatives,” said Dr. Wechsler. “We need to do a better job of understanding how different subgroups respond to asthma treatment.”
The researchers also looked at several biological and genetic factors to determine if any could predict treatment response. However, they did not find that any biomarkers or percentage of African American ancestry was associated treatment response.
###
National Jewish Health is the leading respiratory hospital in the nation. Founded 120 years ago as a nonprofit hospital, National Jewish Health today is the only facility in the world dedicated exclusively to groundbreaking medical research and treatment of patients with respiratory, cardiac, immune and related disorders. Patients and families come to National Jewish Health from around the world to receive cutting-edge, comprehensive, coordinated care. To learn more, visit http://www.njhealth.org.
Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.

It is important to seek competent medical advice for the diagnosis or treatment of asthma.

The Mayo Clinic explained the diagnosis of asthma:

Diagnosis

Physical exam

To rule out other possible conditions — such as a respiratory infection or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) — your doctor will do a physical exam and ask you questions about your signs and symptoms and about any other health problems.
Tests to measure lung function
You may also be given lung (pulmonary) function tests to determine how much air moves in and out as you breathe. These tests may include:
• Spirometry. This test estimates the narrowing of your bronchial tubes by checking how much air you can exhale after a deep breath and how fast you can breathe out.
• Peak flow. A peak flow meter is a simple device that measures how hard you can breathe out. Lower than usual peak flow readings are a sign your lungs may not be working as well and that your asthma may be getting worse. Your doctor will give you instructions on how to track and deal with low peak flow readings.
Lung function tests often are done before and after taking a medication called a bronchodilator (brong-koh-DIE-lay-tur), such as albuterol, to open your airways. If your lung function improves with use of a bronchodilator, it’s likely you have asthma.
Additional tests
Other tests to diagnose asthma include:
• Methacholine challenge. Methacholine is a known asthma trigger that, when inhaled, will cause mild constriction of your airways. If you react to the methacholine, you likely have asthma. This test may be used even if your initial lung function test is normal.
• Nitric oxide test. This test, though not widely available, measures the amount of the gas, nitric oxide, that you have in your breath. When your airways are inflamed — a sign of asthma — you may have higher than normal nitric oxide levels.
• Imaging tests. A chest X-ray and high-resolution computerized tomography (CT) scan of your lungs and nose cavities (sinuses) can identify any structural abnormalities or diseases (such as infection) that can cause or aggravate breathing problems.
• Allergy testing. This can be performed by a skin test or blood test. Allergy tests can identify allergy to pets, dust, mold and pollen. If important allergy triggers are identified, this can lead to a recommendation for allergen immunotherapy.
• Sputum eosinophils. This test looks for certain white blood cells (eosinophils) in the mixture of saliva and mucus (sputum) you discharge during coughing. Eosinophils are present when symptoms develop and become visible when stained with a rose-colored dye (eosin).
• Provocative testing for exercise and cold-induced asthma. In these tests, your doctor measures your airway obstruction before and after you perform vigorous physical activity or take several breaths of cold air.
How asthma is classified
To classify your asthma severity, your doctor considers your answers to questions about symptoms (such as how often you have asthma attacks and how bad they are), along with the results of your physical exam and diagnostic tests.
Determining your asthma severity helps your doctor choose the best treatment. Asthma severity often changes over time, requiring treatment adjustments.
Asthma is classified into four general categories:
Asthma classification Signs and symptoms
Mild intermittent Mild symptoms up to two days a week and up to two nights a month
Mild persistent Symptoms more than twice a week, but no more than once in a single day
Moderate persistent Symptoms once a day and more than one night a week
Severe persistent Symptoms throughout the day on most days and frequently at night
More Information
https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/asthma/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20369660

Resources:

Asthma: Treatment & Care – WebMD                                http://www.webmd.com/asthma/guide/asthma-treatment-care

Asthma – Management and Treatment | CDC https://www.cdc.gov/asthma/management.html

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