BACKGROUND: As new combinations of inhaled corticosteroids (ICSs) and long-acting β(2)-agonists (LABAs) become available for the treatment of asthma, it will be important to determine criteria against which they can be evaluated. The aim of this study was to assess which attributes of combination therapy physicians consider most important.
METHODS: Primary and secondary care asthma specialists (n = 32) were recruited for an expert Delphi process that was performed over three rounds to determine attributes perceived to be important in the selection of combination therapy. A pan-European survey was carried out to assess the attitudes, perceptions and prescribing behaviour of a larger population (n = 1,861) of physicians with a specialist interest in asthma treatment.
RESULTS: The expert Delphi panel (response rate 59.4%) agreed that the availability of a range of doses (88% agreement in the final round), the efficacy of the combination (81%) and the safety and tolerability of the therapy (81%) were important attributes of ICS/LABA combination treatment. The potency of the ICS (69%) and the speed of onset of the LABA (69%) were also prioritized. The results of the attitudinal survey (eligibility rate 54.1%) showed that the same factors were considered important in everyday clinical practice.
CONCLUSIONS: These studies identified which attributes of an ICS/LABA treatment are considered most important by an expert panel and a broader group of physicians; further research is warranted to better understand the influences that drive physician opinions.
- administration, inhalation
- adrenal cortex hormones
- adrenergic beta-2 receptor antagonists
- allergy and immunology
- anti-asthmatic agents
- attitude of health personnel
- Delphi technique
- drug combinations
- pulmonary medicine