Change in asthma and COPD prescribing by Italian general practitioners between 2006 and 2008

Mario Cazzola, Andrea Segreti, Germano Bettoncelli, Luigino Calzetta, Claudio Cricelli, Franco Pasqua, Paola Rogliani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Aims: To explore the trend in prescribing of drugs classified within the R03 therapeutic pharmacological subgroup (drugs for obstructive airway diseases) of the Anatomical Therapeutic Chemical (ATC) classification. Methods: Comparison of GP-collected data on physician-patient contacts and drug prescriptions for asthma and COPD in 2006 and 2008. Results: Compared to 2006, in 2008 patients with COPD were prescribed more long-acting bronchodilators; use of tiotropium increased, whilst use of long-acting β2-agonists (LABAs) and short-acting antimuscarinic agents decreased. However, 55.9% of patients in 2006, and 47.8% in 2008, received an inhaled corticosteroid (ICS), mainly as a LABA/ICS fixed combination inhaler. Compared to 2006, in 2008 there were increased prescriptions of LABA/ICS fixed combination inhalers for asthma, but only 54.5% of all prescriptions included an ICS. This could explain the large use of short-acting β2-agonists, a marker of poor asthma control. Remarkably, LABA/ICS fixed combination inhalers were prescribed more frequently in COPD than in asthma. Conclusions: Our data indicate that adherence to guidelines is still low. Patients with asthma and COPD are undertreated by Italian GPs, with a trend to a change in COPD prescribing likely driven by new scientific information.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)291-298
Number of pages8
JournalPrimary Care Respiratory Journal
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Apr 20 2011


  • Asthma
  • Bronchodilators
  • COPD
  • General practitioners
  • Inhaled corticosteroid
  • Italy
  • Prescribing
  • Treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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