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More Children Using Preventive Asthma Drugs: Study
Date:12/5/2011

used data from the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. They used information collected during three time periods: 1988 to 1994, 1999 to 2002 and 2005 to 2008.

The survey included data from nearly 2,500 children from across the United States, who were between the ages of 1 and 19 years. All of these children reported having asthma currently.

During 1988 to 1994, about 18 percent of children and teens with asthma used a preventive medication. By 1999 to 2002, that number had risen to 21 percent, and by 2005 to 2008, nearly 35 percent of children and teens were using a preventive asthma medication.

The researchers found that preteens and teenagers had the lowest use of preventive medications. In 2005 to 2008, about 43 percent of kids between the ages of 1 and 5 years old used preventive drugs. In kids from 6 to 11 years old, about 45 percent used a preventive medication. But, in 12 to 19 year olds, the use of preventive medication dropped to less than 25 percent.

"Teens may be 'under-perceivers.' They may have severe asthma, but if they can still do activities, they may not report it. And, while families may think their teen is responsible enough to take care of their medications, they're often not," Aujla said.

She said she tells the parents of her patients to be sure they watch their teen taking his or her preventive medications to be sure it's getting done. She added that it's especially important to do this even in times of good control, because that's often when kids may get more lax about using their medications.

Kit's study also found that black children and Mexican American children were significantly less likely to use preventive medications for asthma, as were uninsured people.

Aujla said part of it may be the cost of these medications, or it could be a lack of access to health care. She also said that trust may be an issue in the minority population. And, that's especially concerning becaus
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