Lege Artis Medicinae

[Disparity in the perception of the disease in asthmatics and their pulmonologists plus resource in Hungary (HUNAIR study)]

MAGYAR Pál1, GYURKOVITS Kálmán2, HERJAVECZ Irén3, BÖSZÖRMÉNYI Nagy György3

APRIL 01, 2000

Lege Artis Medicinae - 2000;10(04)

[INTRODUCTION - Bronchial asthma is a chro­nic disease having an increasing prevalence in childhood and adulthood, affecting about 3-5% of the population in the developed countries. The AIR study in the United Kingdom compared the perception of the disease in asthmatic patients' to the view of their physicians (pulmonologists). Based on the results of AIR Study the Hungarian Board of Pulmonologists conducted a partially different survey in Hungary (H UNAIR Study). The fundamental objective of the HUNAIR Study was to address the following questions: 1. The persisting symptoms and limitations in daily activity of treated pediatric and adult asth­matic patients. 2. Comparison of the GINA classification of asthmatic patients (based on self-assessed symptom severity) and their pulmonologists. 3. Determination of the total asthma-related drug costs in different severity categories. 4. Determination of the total asthma-related cost for the society and its components (total drug costs, cost of lost workdays, cost of emergency visits, cost of specialist visits, cost of GP visits, cost of hospitalisation) in the different severity categories. 5. Potential differences in total cost between adult and pediatric asthmatic patients. PATIENTS AND METHODS - Data collection based on questionnaires was carried out from October 1998 to May 1999 and was directed by the Board of Pulmonologist. 699 adults and 375 children participated in the survey. The study was conducted in 19 adult and 8 pediatric cent­res in Hungary with the participation of 103 pulmonologists. RESULTS - Significant difference was found in the severity classification (based on GINA ) done by the physicians or the patients themselves. Substantial proportion of patients complained of more symptoms and limitations considering their own condition more severe than indicated by their physicians. Minor difference was found in the use of inhaled steroids among patients with mild, moderate and severe persistent asth­ma. An approximate "one-third " rule could be set up by the health economic evaluation: about 1/3 of the total cost was made up by lost work­ days, 1/3 by drug costs and 1/ 3 by other costs. One-third of the total drug cost was made up by controller and reliever antiasthmatics , 1/3 by emergency medicines and 1/3 by other medi­cines. Cost distribution of controller and reliever medicines: in case of adult patients 1/3 of the costs was constituted by controller medication and 2/3 (73%) by reliever medicines. That ratio was reversed in children: about 2/3 (73%) of the costs was spent on controller and '1 3 on reliever medicines. Further findings: 1. The increased health care resource utilisation correlated with the physician's perception more than the patient's self-assessment; 2. the resource utilisa­tion was twice as high in asthmatic children as in adults ; 3. the resource utilisati on was not affected by the usage of inhaled steroids during the 14 days of the study. CONCLUSIONS - lt can be concluded that in real life situations the current medical treatment of asthmatic patients is unsatisfactory (vs. in clinical trials). The cost-effectiveness of any medication can only be studied in a complex way, considering all the costs incurred in real life situations. New end-points are needed to assess the condition of asthmatics, which con­sider the limitations of patients in their daily routine activities and are not based exclusively on lung function tests.]

AFFILIATIONS

  1. Semmelweis Egyetem, Általános Orvosi Kar, Pulmonológiai Klinika, Budapest
  2. Somogy Megyei Tüdő- és Szívkórház, Mosdós
  3. Országos Korányi Tbc- és Pulmonológiai Intézet, Budapest

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[Functional gastrointestinal disorders defined as a variable combination of chronic or recurrent gastrointestinal symptoms not explained by structural or biochemichal abnormalities, are everpresent in the society and in physicians' offices. These conditions account for half of the referrals to gastroenterologists, at least in the ,,developed countries". The pathophysiological mechanisms involved in the pathogenesis of these disorders are complex. The symptoms are believed to be biologically multidetermined, abnormalities in motor activity, visceral sensation (hypersensitivity and hyperalgesia) and/or central perception are the best known pathogenetic factors. Cultural/familiar influence, psychosocial status, life stress and early life events may also play important role in the development or amplification of the symptoms. Since functional gastrointestinal disorders are interrelated in their pathophysiology and clinical expression, many patients will have overlapping clinical features. Predominant symptoms, however, may be used for classifying these disorders (functional dyspepsia, irritable bowel syndrome etc) and for the positive (symptom-based) diagnostic approach of the functional gastrointestinal disorders. A biopsychosocial model created to explain complex pathophysiology described above provides the rationale also for the use of a multidisciplinary approach in the therapy. ]

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[Functional dyspepsia is defined as a group of different epigastric symptoms without definite morphological, biochemical or infectious origin, having overlapping clinical features. The pathogenesis of the syndrome is surely multi factorial, involving the alterations of visceral perception, as well. Gastric acid hypersecretion does not play an essential role in the development of symptoms, however its pharmacological inhibition may result in symptomatic improvement. Several clinical studies have proved recently that Helicobacter pylori infection has secondary importance in the clinical history of functional dyspepsia patients, nevertheless (in the ulcer-like functional dyspepsia subgroup) eradication therapy is generally accepted as a preventive tool. The dysmotility-type subgroup of the functional dyspepsia syndrome is caused primarily by a multifactorial mixture of gastrointestinal motility disorders and altered visceral perception. The need for positiv diagnosis is emphasized by the authors. The correct doctor-patient relationship plays the most important role in the management of functional dyspepsia patients, complete with a well proven series of acid-inhibitory, prokinetics and anti-anxiety drugs.]

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[New concept for the irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) has been accepted in the medical practice based on the information obtained in the last two decades about the pathogenesis of the disease. This new pathogenetical concept stimulated the revision of the current pharmacotherapy and the development of new classes of drugs. Several mechanisms are involved in the development of typical symptoms: the role of motility disorders, visceral hypersensitivity and alterations in the peripheral and central regulatory/modulatory pathways are clearly documented. The positive diagnosis is based on the evaluation of the leading and representative symptoms of the disease (Rome Criteria I and II) and this approach is helpful to define IBS in the cliniccal practice. ]

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[INTRODUCTION - Gastroesophageal reflux is known to cause chronic cough and it is also implicated in worsening of asthma. We conducted a prospective study to examine the clinical significance of gastroesophageal reflux disease in asthmatic patients with chronic cough, to analyse the temporal relationship between reflux events and coughing and to assess the effect of esomeprazole treatment on respiratory symptoms and lung function in these patients. PATIENTS AND METHODS - 126 asthmatic patients with chronic dry cough were studied. Diagnosis of gastroesophageal reflux disease was based on typical symptoms and the effectiveness of therapeutic test or on pH monitoring, while control group consisted of the patients without gastroesophageal reflux (negative pH results). The study group patients received the proton pump inhibitor esomeprazole (40 mg/day for three months) and standard treatment for asthma was continued. During the study pulmonary function tests (forced expiratory volume in one second and peak expiratory flow) were evaluated four times and the reflux symptom scores as well, using a questionnaire. RESULTS - The results of pH monitoring showed that 64% of cough episodes were related to acid reflux and in 91% of reflux events preceded coughing. Esomeprazole treatment (40 mg/day for three months) not only diminished gastroesophageal reflux symptoms but also improved asthma outcome measures. Baseline pulmonary function values increased significantly together with a decrease in symptom scores and the use of rescue medication. In most patients included in the extended part of the study for another three months, the dose of inhaled steroids could be reduced with sustained therapy against gastroesophageal reflux. CONCLUSION - Our data shows that reflux events preceded coughing in most cases and that treatment of gastroesophageal reflux disease caused an improvement in different outcome measures of asthma suggest that gastroesophageal reflux disease worsens asthma and its treatment is of clinical importance in the effective management of these patients.]

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