Pharmacotherapy of asthma: regular treatment or on demand?

Paolo Montuschi, Gabriella Pagliari, Leonello Fuso

Risultato della ricerca: Contributo in rivistaArticolo in rivistapeer review

7 Citazioni (Scopus)


Some studies have raised the question of the need for chronic controller therapy in mild persistent asthma as suggested by international guidelines. Although the Improving Asthma Control (IMPACT) and Beclomethasone plus Salbutamol (BEST) studies suggest that on-demand therapy in some patients with mild persistent asthma achieves a similar degree of asthma control based on symptoms and functional outcomes, the IMPACT study indicates that regular and on-demand therapy is not equivalent for controlling airway inflammation. Persistent airway inflammation might lead to airway remodelling with onset or worsening of symptoms, deterioration in lung function, and reduced response to pharmacological therapy. However, the relationships between chronic airway inflammation and airway remodelling need to be clarified. Choosing the ‘right’ pharmacological strategy (regular versus on-demand treatment) for asthma control is currently difficult due to the fact that (1) inflammatory outcome measures were not generally incorporated into asthma clinical trials; (2) the relationships between chronic airway inflammation and airway remodelling are largely unknown; (3) current clinical asthma trials that are generally based on symptomatic and functional outcome measures are too short to assess the impact of regular anti-inflammatory therapy on natural history of asthma; (4) asthma is an heterogeneous disease and different phenotypes of asthma patients likely requiring a different therapeutic approach can be identified, even in the same class of asthma severity. Guidelines for asthma management are valuable tools, although they are necessarily based on a strategy directed to the best outcome in a group of patients. Asthma phenotyping is becoming central for asthma management. The issue of regular versus on-demand treatment of intermittent and mild persistent asthma would be better addressed if considered within an individualized approach to asthma management and assessment. Identification of clinical, functional, morphological and biochemical phenotypes of patients with asthma and its clinical implications is likely to lead to a tailored, individualized, pharmacological therapy and asthma management.
Lingua originaleEnglish
pagine (da-a)175-191
Numero di pagine17
RivistaTherapeutic Advances in Respiratory Disease
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2009


  • Asthma
  • Pharmacological therapy
  • inhaled corticosteroids
  • long-acting beta agonists


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