In December of 2020, The National Institutes of Health (NIH) released updated guidelines for diagnosis, management and treatment of asthma. This is the first update to federal asthma guidelines since 2007. As a “focused update,” it is limited to nineteen recommendations in six key areas.
Asthma guidelines play an important role in guiding asthma specialists and patients by providing evidence-based recommendations for asthma management. Since the 2007 guidelines, there has been substantial progress in understanding how asthma is diagnosed, managed, and treated in both children and adults.
These guidelines support ‘shared decision making’ between patients and their doctors and are intended to improve asthma testing, management, and treatment.
The report published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, contains 19 recommendations addressing six priority topic areas. Below is an overview from National Institutes of Health:
- Using inhaled corticosteroids when needed for recurrent wheezing or persistent asthma. This medicine helps control inflammation, or swelling, in your airways over time.
- Using long-acting antimuscarinic agents (LAMAs) with inhaled corticosteroids for long-term asthma management. A LAMA is an inhaled medicine that helps to keep airway muscles relaxed.
- Using one or more methods to reduce exposure to indoor asthma triggers.
- Immunotherapy: Using allergy shots which contain very small amounts of allergens to treat some people with allergic asthma. Allergy immunotherapy may make you less sensitive to allergens such as pollen, house dust mites, and animal dander. Read more about allergy immunotherapy in the treatment of allergic asthma.
- Using fractional exhaled nitric oxide (FeNO) tests to help manage asthma or to help confirm a diagnosis in some patients when the diagnosis is unclear. This test involves breathing into a tube connected to a machine that measures the amount of nitric oxide, which can increase when there is airway inflammation.
- Using bronchial thermoplasty (BT) to treat selected adults with persistent asthma. During the procedure heat is used to reduce the muscle around the airways.
The asthma experts at Atlanta Allergy & Asthma are pleased to see this update from the NIH. We are constantly reviewing the management of our patients using current information from allergy journals and professional societies. Our patients can be assured that they are always receiving state of the art care. We are particularly pleased to see that these national guidelines have recognized the importance of allergen immunotherapy as a beneficial treatment for patients with allergic asthma.
To discuss the management of your asthma and/or allergies with our experts schedule an appointment at one of our 17 locations.