Asthma mortality and long-acting beta2-agonists in five major European countries, 1994-2004

Liliane Chatenoud, Matteo Malvezzi, Andrea Pitrelli, Carlo La Vecchia, Francesco Bamfi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives. Over the last few decades, important changes occurred in the pharmacological approach to asthma control. However, the possible link between pharmacologic treatment and asthma death remains controversial. Study Design and Setting. Age-standardized asthma mortality rates were computed over the 1994-2004 period for France, Germany, Spain, the UK, and Italy. Rates for children and young adults 5 to 34 years of age, middle age adults 35 to 64 years of age, and elderly adults ≥ 65 years. Joinpoint regression was performed to identify years where significant changes in mortality trends occurred. Consumption of inhaled long-acting beta-2-agonists (LABA), including inhaled corticosteroids (ICS) when combined with LABAs in a single inhaler, derived from sales estimates. Results. In 1994, the highest asthma mortality rates were in Germany (4.7/100,000), and the lowest ones were in Italy and Spain (0.5/100,000). Steady downward trends were observed in all the countries considered. The largest decline was registered in Germany and the smallest one was in the UK. LABA sales increased steadily since 1994, particularly in France, Spain, and the UK, reaching values around 14 Defined Daily Doses (DDD)/1,000 inhabitants in 2004. Conclusion. While the use of LABAs (with or without ICS) increased over the last decade, asthma mortality declined in major western European countries.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)546-551
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Asthma
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2009


  • Asthma
  • Drug consumption
  • Joinpoint regression
  • Long-acting beta-2-agonist
  • Mortality
  • Trends

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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