Asthma: take less inhaled corticosteroids, but with the same benefits
There's often a gulf between research and practice in medicine. The doctor too often sticks to what he knows and has been taught, and so rarely carries through what the researchers often recommend.
Take, for example, the control and management of asthma. It's been established by several important research papers that doctors can safely step down treatment levels of corticosteroids in cases of controlled asthma. In other words, they can dramatically reduce the dose without any danger of the asthma worsening.
Unfortunately, while this is of enormous benefit to the patient, it's something that is rarely carried through.
This approach has again been vindicated in a new study that involved 259 asthma sufferers who had the complaint for at least a year. Half carried on receiving beclomethasone dipropionate, an inhaled corticosteroid, at the standard dose of around 800 mcg a day, while the rest had their dosages more than halved - and without suffering more, or worse, asthma attacks than those on the higher dosage.
(Source: British Medical Journal, 2003; 326: 1115-8).