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Monthly peak flow readings 'help asthma symptoms'

Monthly lung function testing during the winter cold and flu season can improve symptom control in patients with asthma, a US study shows.

Researchers evaluated the impact of 68 patients and clinicians discussing monthly peak flow readings with 71 patients in the control group who received standard care.

Significantly fewer patients in the intervention group required courses of oral steroids than in the control group - 9% versus 23% in the winter and 3% versus 17% in the spring.

And significantly fewer patients in the intervention group reported periods of worsening symptoms - 65% versus 89% - and urgent care visits -10% versus 23% - during winter, compared to those in the control group.

Patients in the intervention group also had greater adherence to their inhaled steroids during winter than those in the control group.

Study leader Professor Susan Janson, professor of medicine at the University of California San Francisco, concluded: ‘Interpreted peak flow monitoring may be beneficial to people with asthma during the seasons of greatest vulnerability, the cold and flu season.'

Chest 2010; 138: 1148–1155

Monthly peak flow readings during winter can help control patients' asthma symptoms, researchers found Monthly peak flow readings during winter can help control patients' asthma symptoms, researchers found

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