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Novel Asthma Study for African-Americans, Hispanics, and Latinos

While more than 25 million people in the United States suffer from asthma, African-Americans, Hispanics, and Latinos bear a disproportionate share of its most serious consequences, with two to three times the death rate from asthma as Caucasians.

Elliot Israel, MD, director of the Asthma Research Center in the Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine Division at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH), is investigating a novel strategy that presents an alternative to the daily use of an inhaled corticosteroid (ICS) to prevent exacerbations (asthma attacks). The approach – called the Patient Activated Reliever-Triggered Inhaled CorticoSteroid (PARTICS) strategy – instructs patients to use the ICS inhaler at the same time they use their reliever inhaler when easing asthma symptoms, such as wheezing or being out of breath. In small studies in controlled situations, the PARTICS strategy has been shown to be effective in both controlling asthma and preventing exacerbations.

The Patient Empowered Strategy to Reduce Asthma Morbidity in Highly Impacted Populations study is the first to test the effectiveness of the PARTICS strategy in real-world situations.

  • The study will recruit 1,200 African-American, Hispanic, and Latino adult participants with asthma who are using an ICS or who have had an exacerbation in the past year.
  • The participants’ physicians will receive supplemental training about how best to treat asthma.
  • Participants will be randomly chosen to follow the PARTICS strategy in addition to receiving education-enhanced care for asthma, or to receive provider-educated care only.
  • Both groups will complete monthly questionnaires for 15 months.

The study’s research team will compare the number of exacerbations in both groups to determine which treatment strategy works better and will also look at days lost from work, symptoms, and asthma control. Patients from impacted populations contributed to the study design, implementation, and recruitment by taking part in regularly scheduled conference calls and in-person meetings. Dr. Israel and his collaborative team of investigators and patients will be supported by a $13.9-million, five-year funding award from the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI).

For more information about this study, contact Nancy Maher at (857) 307-3892.

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