Study Shows Serious Asthma Attacks Remain Common

Study Shows Asthma Exacerbations Have Not Substantially Declined Over Time
Tuesday March 7, 9:45 am ET – Data on Asthma Sufferers Presented at 62nd AAAAI Annual Meeting –

MIAMI, March 7 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — New data presented at the 62nd Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (AAAAI) show that despite numerous treatment options for asthma, patients experience emergency department (ED) visits, hospitalizations, or attacks at a rate that has not declined substantially over time. Additionally, the data found that asthma patients who have experienced an asthma attack are twice as likely to experience additional exacerbations as other patients.

“Despite the numerous asthma treatments available in the United States to treat adults with asthma, and the emergence of new therapies, the disease is still poorly controlled. In many cases, this may be due to the lack of physician and patient compliance to therapy despite asthma exacerbations,” said Richard O’Connor, MD, Director, Department of Quality Management, Sharp Rees-Stealy Medical group, lead author of the study. “The findings provide evidence of the need for new ways to help patients and physicians optimize their disease management, including new medications that help control the everyday symptoms of asthma.”

Study Findings

The study, supported by AstraZeneca, reviewed an administrative claims database in a managed care setting that included case records for 3998 patients (65 percent female; mean age = 41 years) with an asthma diagnosis and two or more claims per year for asthma medication over a four-year period. Exacerbation rates of patients who had an exacerbation during year 1 of the study were compared with patients who were exacerbation-free in the first year of the study to determine the likelihood of an event during the remainder of the study period. Researchers found that patients who had exacerbations during the first year of the study were more likely to have a subsequent exacerbation than those who did not.

The study found that during the four-year period (June 2000-May 2004), exacerbation rates did not decline substantially. Specifically:

-- During the study period, 41 percent of patients had at least one
asthma exacerbation.
-- Of these patients, 30 percent were not taking daily asthma maintenance
medication before the exacerbation.  Once resolved, 24 percent of
patients were still not on maintenance therapy, which may explain the
incidence of recurrence.
-- Patients who had an exacerbation in year 1 of the study were about
twice as likely to have another exacerbation at some point in the
remainder of the study, as compared to those patients who were
exacerbation-free in year 1 (58 percent vs. 30 percent, P<0.001).(1)
-- Among the 3998 patients studied, 17.9 percent had at least one
exacerbation in the first year of the study period; 16.2 percent in
the second year; 14.6 percent in the third year; and 14.8 percent in
the final year.

About Asthma

Asthma is a reversible obstructive lung disease, caused by increased reaction of the airways to various stimuli. It is a chronic inflammatory condition with acute exacerbations(2). Asthma is characterized by excessive sensitivity of the lungs to various stimuli and can be a life-threatening disease if not properly managed. Triggers range from viral infections and allergies to irritating gases and particles in the air.

Asthma is a serious chronic medical condition in the United States. In 2003, it was estimated that nearly 20 million Americans have asthma(3), 11 million of whom had an asthma attack or episode in the past year(2). Additionally, the annual direct healthcare cost of asthma is approximately $11.5 billion; indirect costs (e.g., lost productivity) add another $4.6 billion, for a total of $16.1 billion.

About AstraZeneca

AstraZeneca (NYSE: AZN - News) is a major international healthcare business engaged in the research, development, manufacture and marketing of prescription pharmaceuticals and the supply of healthcare services. It is one of the world's leading pharmaceutical companies with healthcare sales of $23.95 billion and leading positions in sales of gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, neuroscience, respiratory, oncology and infection products. In the United States, AstraZeneca is a $10.77 billion healthcare business with more than 12,000 employees. AstraZeneca is listed in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index (Global) as well as the FTSE4Good Index.

For more information about AstraZeneca, please visit:

(1) O'Connor R, Tashkin D, Peters S et al.  Assessment of asthma
exacerbations in a real-world setting over 4 years.  Poster
presented at the 62nd annual meeting of the American Academy of Allergy,
Asthma and Immunology, March 7, 2006.
(2) Asthma in Adults Fact Sheet, American Lung Association, July 2005.
Accessed January 15, 2006 at
(3) Trends in Asthma Morbidity and Mortality, American Lung Association,
May 2005.  Accessed January 15, 2006 at:{7A8D42C2-FCCA-4604-8ADE-


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