“Assess addiction”: a program to support asthmatics launched in Russia

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Russian doctors have created an Addiction Assessment program for patients with bronchial asthma who use inhalers to relieve symptoms. With the help of a short online test, you can find out how great your addiction to “first aid” balloons is and get advice on correcting therapy.

On October 27, 2020, within the framework of the XXX National Congress on Respiratory Diseases, a press conference was held with the participation of leading experts from the medical communities in the field of respiratory medicine. The experts discussed new approaches to treating bronchial asthma and reducing the risk of exacerbations.

Bronchial asthma is one of the most common respiratory diseases that affects about 340 million people worldwide. As stated by the chief freelance pulmonologist of the Ministry of Health, head of the department of pulmonology at the I.M. I.M.Sechenova, Corresponding Member of RAS, Professor Sergey Nikolaevich Avdeev, the state statistics on the incidence of bronchial asthma in Russia is very far from the real picture. Officially, this diagnosis was made by only 1% of the population, while epidemiological studies show that the incidence rate among children and adolescents in different regions of the country ranges from 10.6 to 16.9%. This is due to the fact that Russians often self-medicate, mistaking the symptoms of bronchial asthma for chronic cough or bronchitis, and during seasonal exacerbations – for allergic reactions.

Often, mild forms of bronchial asthma are complicated due to the fact that patients abuse short-acting bronchodilators, which effectively relieve symptoms, but do not affect the pathogenesis and course of the disease. Until recently, it was believed that patients with a mild form only need to use inhalers during attacks. 2019 saw a dramatic change in the International Global Strategy for the Treatment of Bronchial Asthma: Short-acting bronchodilators are no longer first-line drugs and are not recommended as monotherapy. The main emphasis is placed on the control of the disease, which is possible only with the help of anti-inflammatory therapy, primarily with the use of glucocorticosteroids.

“Asthma is an inflammatory disease, and drugs like salbutamol, ventolin and others do not work on inflammation. Global studies show that many patients use only short-acting inhalers, and one in three abuse them. If a patient uses three cans within a year, this creates a high risk of complications. And twelve cans affect an unfavorable prognosis, including sudden death, ”said Sergey Avdeev.

To support such patients, a social information program “Assess Addiction” has been operating in Russia since September 1. Anyone can take a short online test for free on the website assess-addiction.rf, which will show the degree of risk from the use of such drugs. In the case of high and medium risk, the patient is advised to discuss the test results with the doctor for possible correction of therapy.

This project will help asthmatics independently learn about their dependence on inhalers and find out what they are at risk, says the President of the Interregional Public Organization “Russian Respiratory Society” (RRO) Andrey Stanislavovich Belevsky… People often overestimate their control over the course of asthma, believing that it is enough for them to quickly relieve symptoms. Only a doctor can convince him otherwise, but for this the patient must turn to him, the expert said.

Chairman of the Board of the “Pediatric Respiratory Society” Natalia Anatolyevna Geppe emphasized that the Addiction Assessment program is especially important for children and adolescents with asthma, who most often use only “emergency” inhalers and do not receive other treatment.

The “Assess Addiction” program shows a psychological portrait of a modern adolescent with bronchial asthma and helps to understand himself and the possibilities of living with this disease in the environment. The widespread dissemination of this program, with an emphasis on the formation of adherence to various aspects of controlling the life of adolescents with asthma, is a principled position for patients, families and practitioners, ”the specialist believes.

The Evaluate Addiction educational program is supported by the Russian Respiratory Society, the Russian Scientific Medical Society of Physicians and the Pediatric Respiratory Society.

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