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Asthma medication use among adults with current asthma by work-related asthma status, Asthma Call-back Survey, 29 states, 2012–2013
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  • Alternative Title:
    J Asthma
  • Description:

    Asthma severity is defined as the intensity of treatment required to achieve good control of asthma symptoms. Studies have shown that work-related asthma (WRA) can be associated with poorer asthma control and more severe symptoms than non-WRA. Associations between asthma medications and WRA status were assessed using data from the 2012–2013 Asthma Call-back Survey among ever-employed adults (≥18 years) with current asthma from 29 states.


    Persons with WRA had been told by a physician that their asthma was work-related. Persons with possible WRA had asthma caused or made worse by their current or previous job, but did not have physician-diagnosed WRA. Asthma medications were classified as controller (i.e., long-acting β-agonist, inhaled corticosteroid, oral corticosteroid, cromolyn/nedocromil, leukotriene pathway inhibitor, methylxanthine, anticholinergics) and rescue (i.e., short-acting β-agonist). Demographic and clinical characteristics were examined. Associations between asthma medications and WRA status were assessed using a multivariate logistic regression to calculate adjusted prevalence ratios (PRs).


    Among an estimated 15 million ever-employed adults with current asthma, 14.7% had WRA and an additional 40.4% had possible WRA. Compared with adults with non-WRA, those with WRA were more likely to have taken anti-cholinergics (PR=1.80), leukotriene pathway inhibitor (PR=1.59), and methylxanthine (PR=4.76), and those with possible WRA were more likely to have taken methylxanthine (PR = 2.85).


    Results provide additional evidence of a higher proportion of severe asthma among adults with WRA compared to non-WRA. To achieve optimal asthma control, adults with WRA may require additional intervention, such as environmental controls or removal from the workplace exposure.

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