American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology Annual Meeting

American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology Annual Meeting

March 10, 2017
2 min read

Higher disease burden seen in patients with severe uncontrolled asthma

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Patients with severe uncontrolled eosinophilic asthma faced costs of asthma-related health care and medications three to four times greater than patients with controlled asthma, according to research presented at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.

“Eosinophilic asthma is associated with high risk of exacerbations and increased use of health care resources,” Carolyn Martin, of Optum, and colleagues, wrote.

Carolyn Martin

Martin and colleagues evaluated the asthma-related health care resource burden for insured patients aged 18 years and older with uncontrolled asthma and elevated eosinophil levels defined as 400 cells/L or greater (n = 169) in comparison to those with controlled symptoms and eosinophil levels less than 400 cells/L (n = 859). Patients included those with two or more asthma diagnoses on separate dates, one or more exacerbations, one or more claims for asthma controller medication and an eosinophil laboratory result. Patients with COPD, acute respiratory failure, respiratory tract cancer and cystic fibrosis were excluded.

During the 12-month period after eosinophil levels were determined, the researchers found that patients with severe uncontrolled eosinophilic asthma had significantly more exacerbations (2.76 vs. 1.14; P < .001).

“The duration of exacerbations for these patients was nearly three times as long,” Martin told Healio Internal Medicine. “Patients with elevated eosinophil levels and uncontrolled symptoms were also more likely to utilize specialty services (pulmonology, allergy/immunology and ENT) which may signal more severe symptoms or failure of traditional asthma treatments.”

In addition, compared with patients with controlled symptoms, those with severe uncontrolled eosinophilic asthma had significantly higher asthma-related health care costs and costs per patient for asthma-related medication ($3,348 vs. $1,366; P = .002).

Despite ongoing care and pharmacy use, symptoms remained uncontrolled, the researchers noted.

“The work represents a first step toward understanding the directionality and scope of the economic burden of elevated eosinophil levels and uncontrolled symptoms,” Martin said.

“This analysis was an initial phase of a larger study exploring treatment patterns and economic burden among patients with asthma,” she added. “[We] hope the poster presentation contributes to the building clinical momentum to better understand the characteristics of and treatments for patients with severe disease, often without symptom relief from traditional therapies, and will help broaden the growing dialogue on the most efficient treatment of patients with asthma and elevated eosinophil levels.” – by Alaina Tedesco


Martin C, et al. Abstract 185. Presented at: American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology Annual Meeting; March 3-6, 2017; Atlanta.

Disclosure: One of the researchers is with Teva Pharmaceuticals, who funded the study.