MONDAY, Dec. 5 (HealthDay News) -- About one in three children with asthma is currently using a preventive medication, according to new research. That number is up from about 18 percent of kids during the late 1980s.
Preventive asthma medications help control the airway disease before symptoms flare up, and guidelines from the U.S. National Asthma Education and Prevention Program recommend their use.
"The main finding from our study was that over 20 years, the use of medicines to prevent asthma has increased among children with asthma," said the study's lead author, Dr. Brian Kit, a medical epidemiologist at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics.
Commenting on the study, Dr. Shean Aujla, a pediatric pulmonologist at the Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, said, "I think it's encouraging that there's been an increase in the use of preventive medications, but it's still only about one-third of kids with asthma using these drugs. I still think there's underdiagnosis and undertreatment of asthma."
Results of the study were released online Dec. 5, and will be published in the January 2012 issue of Pediatrics.
Preventive medications for asthma include inhaled corticosteroids, such as Pulmicort (budesonide) and Flovent (fluticasone); leukotriene-receptor antagonists, such as Singulair and Accolate; long-acting beta agonists, such as Serevent and Foradil; mast-cell stabilizers, such as Intal; and methylxanthines, such as Theo-Dur, according to the study.
Not everyone with asthma needs to take a daily preventive medication, Aujla noted. For example, youngsters with exercise-induced asthma often don't need to take a medication every day, just when they might have symptoms. But, many children with asthma can benefit from daily preventive medications, she said.
For the study, Kit and his colleagues
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