Australian study may provide some more answers Source: Medical Observer (Australia) 26 July 2002 (Friday, July 26, 2002)
An Australian study due to start next month may give GPs and their asthma patients some answers about the usefulness of breathing techniques as therapy. The Co-operative Research Centre (CRC) on Asthma will recruit 100 adults with asthma in Sydney and Melbourne to participate in a 30-week trial designed to determine whether incorporating breathing exercises into asthma management can reduce the use of inhaled steroids. There was some evidence that breathing techniques could help patients control symptoms with reduced recourse to reliever medication, said thoracic physician Dr Christine Jenkins, CRC project leader at Sydney's Institute of Respiratory Medicine. "Reducing reliever use in substituting one sort of symptom control for another," Dr Jenkins said. "If you can reduce preventer use, then you are probably influencing the underlying disease process." Participants in the intervention group would use breathing patterns incorporating principles from the Buteyko method, and a placebo group would be given breathing exercises with no known usefulness, she said. "In the first half of the study, participants will take their usual asthma medication and, in the second half, we will be attempting to reduce preventer medication in all the patients in a double-blind fashion." The trial will also measure improvement in symptoms, airway hyper-responsiveness, airway inflammation and assess asthma control using a standardised questionnaire.
Dr Christine Jenkins: Reducing preventer use the key