University of Sussex
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Psychological interventions in asthma

journal contribution
posted on 2023-06-08, 20:31 authored by Helen E Smith, Christina J Jones
Asthma is a multifactorial chronic respiratory disease characterised by recurrent episodes of airway obstruction. The current management of asthma focuses principally on pharmacological treatments, which have a strong evidence base underlying their use. However, in clinical practice, poor symptom control remains a common problem for patients with asthma. Living with asthma has been linked with psychological co-morbidity including anxiety, depression, panic attacks and behavioural factors such as poor adherence and suboptimal self-management. Psychological disorders have a higher-than-expected prevalence in patients with difficult-to-control asthma. As psychological considerations play an important role in the management of people with asthma, it is not surprising that many psychological therapies have been applied in the management of asthma. There are case reports which support their use as an adjunct to pharmacological therapy in selected individuals, and in some clinical trials, benefit is demonstrated, but the evidence is not consistent. When findings are quantitatively synthesised in meta-analyses, no firm conclusions are able to be drawn and no guidelines recommend psychological interventions. These inconsistencies in findings may in part be due to poor study design, the combining of results of studies using different interventions and the diversity of ways patient benefit is assessed. Despite this weak evidence base, the rationale for psychological therapies is plausible, and this therapeutic modality is appealing to both patients and their clinicians as an adjunct to conventional pharmacological treatments. What are urgently required are rigorous evaluations of psychological therapies in asthma, on a par to the quality of pharmaceutical trials. From this evidence base, we can then determine which interventions are beneficial for our patients with asthma management and more specifically which psychological therapy is best suited for each patient.


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Current Treatment Options in Allergy









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