Researchers have found that an online self-management tool for people with asthma significantly improves their ability to reduce their symptoms. The system was tested in 200 adults with either partly controlled or uncontrolled asthma at the beginning of the trial. The findings, published in the journal Respiratory Research, showed that the system had significant effects on participants’ asthma.
“The improvements in asthma control scores for patients with partly or uncontrolled asthma at baseline suggest a significant reduction of current asthma sysmptoms,” said Victor van der Meer, MD, from Leiden University Medical Center, The Netherlands. “Future asthma treatment strategies should incorporate continuous self-monitoring, as demonstrated here.”
Participants first were trained to measure their own lung function and input the results, either by a web application or text message. The Web site then suggested personalized advice on how to adjust treatment and presented a graphical representation of how the participants were progressing.
Patient participation rate was measured around 80% in the first 3 months, decreasing to 60% by the end of the trial. Researchers believe this reflected the reduced need for monitoring once control of the disease had been achieved.
“This asthma action plan is one of few that not only specifies action points to increase treatment but also to decrease it, which provides the possibility to tailor medication to individual needs. All control level groups showed a similar pattern of pharmacological therapy over time: an increase in inhaled corticosteroids in the first 3 months, followed by a decrease in the next 9 months,” added van der Meer.