|Big business: Asthma treatments|
The number of children diagnosed with asthma is growing – and so is the percentage of asthmatic children who use prescription “controller” medicine, according to a recent article by HealthDay.
The findings are based on a federal government report, News and Numbers from the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality based on data collected by the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, and they showed that the use of controller drugs by children increased from 29 percent in 1997-1998 to 58 percent in 2007-2008.
The report counted three different types of drugs as asthma controller medications:
- Corticosteroids, which control inflammation and reduce the risk of airway spasms
- Beta-2-agonists, which make breathing easier
- Leukotrienes, which help prevent asthma symptoms from occurring
Asthma medication has become big business: Average annual total spending for all asthma drugs more than quadrupled, from $527 million in 1997-1998 to $2.5 billion in 2007-2008.
When broken down by category, spending for controller drugs rose from $280 million to $2.1 billion, spending for reliever drugs increased from $222 million to $352 million, and spending for oral corticosteroids fell from $25 million to $8 million, the findings revealed.
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