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Biomarker-guided management reduces exacerbations in non-eosinophilic asthma in pregnancy: A secondary analysis of a randomized controlled trial

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BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVE: The aim of this secondary analysis of a randomized controlled trial (RCT) of asthma management in pregnancy was to determine the treatment decision differences between a symptom control algorithm and a fractional exhaled nitric oxide (FENO)-guided algorithm, and whether the approach was effective in non-eosinophilic asthma (NEA).

METHODS: In this double-blind parallel group RCT, women with asthma were randomized prior to 22 weeks gestation to treatment adjustment according to a symptom control algorithm (control group), or a FENO-guided algorithm (inhaled corticosteroid (ICS) dose adjusted according to FENO with long-acting beta-agonist (LABA) added for uncontrolled symptoms). NEA was classified as baseline blood eosinophils <0.26 × 109 /L and FENO ≤29 ppb. Exacerbations requiring medical intervention were recorded.

RESULTS: Among 220 non-smokers (n = 109 control, n = 111 FENO), 1006 treatment decisions were made, with significant group differences after the first and second algorithm applications. 53% of women had NEA. Treatment was better targeted to phenotype in the FENO group: ICS use increased in eosinophilic asthma (EA, 48-86%), while ICS/LABA increased in NEA (11-30%). Fewer women in the FENO group had exacerbations during pregnancy in NEA only (18.9% FENO vs 44% control, P = 0.006).

CONCLUSION: The FENO algorithm was more effective in treating NEA, resulting in reduced exacerbations, compared to a symptom control algorithm. This was not the result of ICS overtreatment, since the benefits occurred at a lower median daily ICS dose. Two applications of the FENO-guided algorithm, one month apart, were sufficient to achieve beneficial effects in terms of asthma exacerbations, among pregnant women with asthma.

Original languageEnglish
JournalRespirology (Carlton, Vic.)
ISSN1323-7799
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 26 Oct 2019

ID: 58588055