Patients with severe asthma risk premature mortality and corticosteroid-related morbidities1–4
Severe asthma is a specific asthma that doesn’t respond to readily available treatments, rather than an extreme form of the condition1
Despite the use of high-dose treatments, underlying asthma is hard to control leading to a great burden of symptoms and asthma attacks1
Oral corticosteroids (OCS) are often used to mitigate symptoms, but these can often lead to severe side-effects, especially if taken long-term1
people in the UK have severe asthma*1,2
of people that died from asthma were reported to have severe asthma between 2012–2013†4
In a UK study‡,
of severe asthma patients had a least one corticosteroid-related morbidity3
- Asthma UK (2017). Severe asthma: the unmet need and the global challenge. Available at: https://www.asthma.org.uk/1dcce9e9/globalassets/get-involved/external-affairs-campaigns/publications/severe-asthma-report/auk_severeasthma_2017.pdf. Date accessed: November 2021.
- Asthma UK. What is severe asthma? Available at: https://www.asthma.org.uk/advice/severe-asthma/what-is-severe-asthma/#whatissevereasthma. Date accessed: November 2021.
- Sweeney J, et al. Thorax. 2016;71(4):339–346.
- Why asthma still kills. The National Review of Asthma Deaths (NRAD). May 2014. Available at: https://www.rcplondon.ac.uk/projects/outputs/why-asthma-still-kills. Date accessed: November 2021.
- Hekking PW, et al. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2015;135(4):896–902.
*Approximately 4% of the 5.4 million people in the UK who have asthma have severe asthma (approximately 200,000–250,000). Severe asthma is defined as daily symptoms of: breathlessness, shortness of breath, disturbed sleep, cough and wheeze, compounded by frequent 'attacks’ (sudden, unpredictable and often devastating worsening of symptoms).1,2,4,5
†In the National Review of Asthma Deaths (NRAD) (2014) sufficient data was available on 195 people who died of asthma between 2012–2013. From 195 people, 155 had their asthma severity recorded prior to death. No history of asthma was reported as 3% (4/144), mild asthma was reported as 9% (14/155), moderate asthma was reported as 49% (76/155) and severe asthma was reported as 39% (61/155). The NRAD is the first UK-wide investigation into asthma deaths that took place between Feb 2012 to Jan 2013. Experts such as general practitioners (GPs), nurses and pharmacists looked at medical records and other information relating to these deaths from doctors’ surgeries, hospitals, emergency services and coroners’ offices. Severity was defined as follows: The BTS/Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network (SIGN) treatment steps 1 and 2 were used as a surrogate for mild and moderate severity; those who were prescribed four asthma medications and those who had been admitted to hospital in the past year, needed OCS daily or had two or more prescriptions for systemic corticosteroids in the past year were classified as severe.4
‡A cross-sectional observational study to determine the prevalence of systemic corticosteroid-induced morbidity in severe asthma using the Optimum Patient Care Research Database (OPCRD), (7,195 subjects in three age- and gender-matched groups) - severe asthma (GINA treatment step 5 with four or more prescriptions/year of OCS, N=808), 770 subjects with severe asthma from the BTS Difficult Asthma Registry (442 receiving daily OCS to maintain disease control). Severe asthma was defined by the Global Initiative for Asthma (GINA) treatment step 5 with four or more prescriptions/year of OCS. 770 subjects with severe asthma from the BTS Difficult Asthma Registry (442 receiving daily OCS to maintain disease control).3
BTS, British Thoracic Society; GINA, Global Initiative for Asthma; GP, general practitioner; NRAD, National Review of Asthma Deaths; OCS, oral corticosteroids; OPCRD, Optimum Patient Care Research Database; SIGN, Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network.
MAT-GB-2004974(v4.0) | Date of preparation: February 2022