The use of inhaled corticosteroids in the United Kingdom and the Netherlands

This study examined the utilisation patterns of inhaled corticosteroids in England/Wales and the Netherlands. Computerised medical records from the GPRD (U.K.) and PHARMO (the Netherlands) databases were used. It included 284733 English/Welsh and 2761 Dutch adult patients who were prescribed inhaled corticosteroids during the 10-year study period. Our results showed that, in both study populations, overall use of inhaled corticosteroids increased over the period studied, with its prevalence risingsteeply with age and declining in extreme old age. Decreased use of bronchodilators and oral corticosteroids in the early treatment of asthma was noted in our findings. In addition, a trend towards the decreasing use of oral corticosteroids concomitantwith inhaled corticosteroid therapy was also observed for both groups. Our study found that only 42.1% of the GPRD and 31.1% of the PHARMO patients received a repeat prescription within the expected duration ofthe preceding inhaled corticosteroid prescription. In conclusion, our study found many similarities in the prescribing and use of inhaled corticosteroids between the two study populations. The observation of irregular use of inhaled corticosteroid among a substantial number of patients highlightsa need for further study into the reasons for irregular use and its consequences on the effectiveness of treatment.

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