The pandemic led to a sharp drop in asthma exacerbations with up to a 90% drop in certain pediatric populations, research shows.
However, findings of multiple studies suggest that patients with asthma likely did not forego needed care – because asthma exacerbations actually decreased during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic.
One such study, the PREPARE trial (Patient Empowered Strategy to Reduce Asthma Morbidity in Highly Impacted Populations – PeRson EmPowered Asthma RElief; ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT02995733), investigated changes in asthma exacerbation rates among African American and Hispanic/Latinx adults (n = 1178) from 19 clinical practices across the US. The PREPARE study analyzed monthly patient self-reports, collected from November 2018 through March 2020, using the Asthma Exacerbation Questionnaire.
In an article published in the July 2021 Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice, PREPARE investigators reported a 41% relative reduction in asthma exacerbations during the first and second quarters of 2020 vs those same quarters during previous years of the study. Notably, greater reductions were observed in Hispanic/Latinx patients (50%) compared to African American/Black patients (27%) and in individuals who worked outside of the home (65%) before the pandemic compared to those working at home (23%).