What Goes Into Asthma Management Guidelines

January 27, 2021
Kevin Kunzmann

Anne Dixon, MD, explains how it took 6 years to update recommendations for new asthma therapies.

Last month, the National Asthma Education and Prevention Program provided a series of new guidance updates for the clinical management of asthma.

The guidelines, produced by a panel of experts with public input and supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), featured 6 key updates to recommendations on the basis of evolving therapeutic options and observed outcomes in patients with the chronic respiratory disease.

Though the guidelines mark a time of significant change in asthma management capability and diversity, they have been a long time coming, said one of the experts who crafted them.

This month on Lungcast, the podcast series hosted by HCPLive® and the American Lung Association (ALA), guideline coauthor Anne Dixon, MD, joined to discuss her panel’s work in crafting the 6 key advisories.

Dixon, a pulmonologist at the University of Vermont Medical Center and Medical Director of the Pulmonary Disease and Critical Care Departments at The Robert Larner, MD College of Medicine, explained the decision to update NIH-supported guidelines began in 2014.

In the 6 years leading up to their publication, Dixon and colleagues implemented the GRADE methodology to the guidelines, used public input to shape the 6 major topics of update, created key questions for each topic, then sought answers to their own questions through systematic reviews.

All of this was completed by 2018, during which time the panel then shaped informed use of differing medications with consideration of primary asthma management outcomes: exacerbation, disease control, quality of life, questionnaire results, and more.

They also considered the benefit-risk ratio of each intervention, the certainty of evidence surrounding each option, as well as the feasibility and patient preference for each. In the end, they had created the comprehensive guidelines.

“It was a painstaking, but transparent process,” Dixon said.

To learn about the first key recommendation, watch the video above.

To hear all 6 recommendations and learn more about hot-button asthma trends, listen to Lungcast below.

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