1Laboratorio per la Salute Materno-Infantile, IRFMN, Milano
2Servizi Sanitari Territoriali, Assessorato alla Sanità, Regione Lombardia 3ASL di Lecco, Lecco
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Key words: Pharmacoepidemiology, Child, National health service, Asthma, Antiasthmatic drugs
Antiasthmatic drugs are often prescribed for conditions different from asthma and many patients are exposed to therapy for which there is no evidence of efficacy. The aim of this study was to test whether antiasthmatic drug prescription rates reflect the prevalence of asthma in an Italian paediatric population, therefore to evaluate appropriateness of treatments. Drug prescriptions involving 24,407 children <18 years old, dispensed during 2003 by the retail pharmacies of local health unit of Lecco (Italy), were analysed. Prevalence of antiasthmatic drug prescription was 11.9% (27.0% of treated). The 56% of children treated with antiasthmatic received only one box of drug. By subgrouping population ≥ 6 years in low and high users, we defined two groups at different severity of disease. The analysis of these subpopulations, using indicators of severity and indicators of appropriateness, suggests the validity of our approach in differentiating between prevalence of asthma and prevalence of antiasthmatic prescriptions and confirms the finding that antiasthmatic drugs, in children, are overprescribed.
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