Many urban children don't get asthma drugs

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asthmaBALTIMORE, Dec. 4 (UPI) -- U.S. researchers suggest only one in five inner-city children with chronic asthma gets enough medicine to control dangerous flare-ups of the disease.

The researchers at The Johns Hopkins Children's Center call the findings disturbing because preventive therapy failure leads to over-reliance on fast-acting "rescue" drugs after an asthma attack strikes and to more complications and increased risk of death.

The scientists interviewed parents of 180 Baltimore children from age 2 to 9 who were diagnosed with persistent asthma and studied pharmacy records. Overall, only 20 percent of the 180 got the recommended amount of daily controller medication, which is six or more refills in a 12-month period.

Sixty percent of children got too little therapy to fully prevent flare-ups, and 20 percent either got no medication at all or relied solely on quick-relief rescue drugs, which stop an asthma attack from progressing.

"It's clear that kids who need preventive drugs aren't getting them," says lead author Arlene Butz, an asthma specialist at the Children's Center.

Previous research indicates that inner-city children are at special risk because their living conditions include other asthma triggers, such as exposure to secondhand smoke and mouse and cockroach allergens.

The findings are published in Pediatrics.

source - UPI