For Release

May 27, 1996 AAAAI

American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology
611 E. Wells Street
Milwaukee, WI 53202-3889

Contact: Linda Bleimehl
Fax 414/272-6070

Below are highlights of studies published in the May 1996 issue of the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, the peer-reviewed, scientific journal of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (AAAAI). The full text of these studies may be obtained through the AAAAI public relations office.


MILWAUKEE -- A study from the Wellington School of Medicine in New Zealand found a reduction in both asthma morbidity and visits to the emergency department for treatment of severe asthma with the use of a "credit card" asthma self-management plan. The credit card plan uses guidelines for the self-management of asthma based on patient self-assessment of peak expiratory flow rates and symptoms. Individualized instructions on what self-management steps to take and when to seek help are written directly on the plastic credit card.

Twenty-six high-risk adult asthmatic patients participated in the six-month study. A comparison of the six-month periods before and after intervention with the credit card plan found that the number of participants waking with asthma more than once a week decreased from 65% to 23%. The number of visits to the emergency department for treatment of severe asthma also decreased from 58% to 15%.

"Patients in this high-risk group perceive the emergency department as the most appropriate place for treatment of their asthma," said the physicians. "Other characteristics of this high-risk group are noncompliance with prescribed medications, low use of inhaled preventive therapy, over reliance on bronchodilator therapy, and high morbidity rates. In many respects, these frequent emergency department asthma patients represent a group whose needs are not being met by our traditional health care system and who may require an alternative approach." The physicians also noted that the patients who used the credit card plan commented positively about the plan, specifically its usefulness in teaching them to monitor and treat their asthma.

The AAAAI is the largest national medical organization representing allergists, clinical immunologists, and allied health professionals. Established in 1943, the Academy has more than 5,000 members in the United States, Canada, and 41 other countries.

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EDITOR'S NOTE: These studies were published in the peer-reviewed, scientific journal of the AAAAI, but do not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of the AAAAI.

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