Asthma Patients Undergoing Regular High-intensity Exercise May be Able to Reduce Daily Inhaled Corticosteroid Dosage
May 31, 2023
April Presnell, Media & Member Communications Manager
Patients in the exercise group were able to reduce doses without compromising their asthma control according to research from JACI: In Practice, an official journal of the AAAAI.
Supervised high-intensity interval training could reduce the need for inhaled corticosteroids (ICS) in asthma patients who had not previously undergone this type of exercise, supporting exercise as a nonpharmacological component of asthma management. The finding comes from a new study published in The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice (JACI: In Practice), a journal of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI).
Researchers in Denmark compared adults with persistent asthma across two groups. The control group maintained their regular lifestyle while the exercise group underwent six months of ongoing supervised high-intensity exercise three times a week. Every second month during the study, a clinical algorithm based on symptom control was utilized with both groups to make adjustments to ICS doses.
A total of 150 individuals participated in the study, with 102 in the exercise group and 48 in the control group. After six months, 63.1% of participants in the exercise group had reduced their ICS dose by 25% or more, compared to 50% in the control group. “What this means is we saw a 24% reduction in daily ICS dose in the exercise group compared to the control group,” said Anders Pitzner-Fabricius, MD, PhD, corresponding author for the study. “We already know physical activity helps asthma control, but these results suggest it also can impact a patient’s reliance on ICS.”
Researchers also observed a reduction of -0.02 units in use of long-acting β2-agonists (LABA) in the exercise group compared to an increase of 0.24 units in the control group. The exercise group also reported higher rates of reduced symptoms and improved quality of life than the control group.
Sub-group analysis also found that patients in the exercise group with uncontrolled asthma, patients requiring oral corticosteroids 12 months prior to the study, and obese female patients were more likely to see a 2-step asthma treatment reduction than others in the exercise group or the control group as a whole.
The effects persisted after 12 months without negatively impacting patients’ asthma control. “We didn’t see any significant differences in asthma exacerbations between the two groups,” said Dr. Pitzner-Fabricius. “These findings reinforce that regular aerobic exercise is an important tool in asthma management.”
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The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI) is the leading membership organization of more than 7,100 allergists, asthma specialists, clinical immunologists, allied health professionals and others with a special interest in the research and treatment of allergic and immunologic diseases. The AAAAI is the go-to resource for patients living with allergies, asthma and immune deficiency disorders. Established in 1943, the AAAAI has more than 7,100 members in the United States, Canada and 72 other countries. AAAAI’s Find an Allergist/Immunologist service is a trusted resource to help you find a specialist close to home.