EHC Program Update: Management and Treatment of Asthma Final Reports

effective health care program - helping you make better treatment choices

Evidence Reports Now Available

Role of Immunotherapy in the Treatment of Asthma
(Systematic Review, released March 23, 2018)

Selected Key Messages:

  • Subcutaneous immunotherapy reduces use of long-term control medications. It may also improve quality of life and FEV1, (a measure of the ability to exhale) and reduce the use of quick-relief medications (short-acting bronchodilators) and systemic corticosteroids. 
  • Sublingual immunotherapy improves asthma symptoms, quality of life and FEV1, and reduces the use of long-term control medications. It may also reduce the use of quick-relief medications. 
  • Local and systemic reactions to subcutaneous immunotherapy and sublingual immunotherapy are common but infrequently required changes in treatment. Life-threatening events (such as anaphylaxis) are reported rarely.

Intermittent Inhaled Corticosteroids and Long-Acting Muscarinic Antagonists for Asthma
(Systematic Review, released March 19, 2018)

Selected Key Messages:

In children less than 5 years old with recurrent wheezing, intermittent use of inhaled corticosteroids during an upper respiratory tract infection decreases asthma exacerbations

In patients 12 years and older with persistent asthma:

  • using inhaled corticosteroids intermittently may be as effective as using them as a controller medication
  • using inhaled corticosteroids and long-acting beta-agonists together as controller and quick relief therapy reduces asthma exacerbations compared to using inhaled corticosteroids alone or with long-acting beta agonist as a controller

In patients 12 years and older with uncontrolled, persistent asthma, adding long-acting muscarinic antagonist to:

  • inhaled corticosteroids reduces exacerbations and improves lung function
  • inhaled corticosteroids and long-acting beta-agonist controllers improves asthma control and lung function


About us: AHRQ’s Effective Health Care Program is committed to providing the best available evidence on the outcomes, benefits and harms, and appropriateness of drugs, devices, and health care services and by helping health care professionals, patients, policymakers, and health care systems make informed health care decisions. The program partners with research centers, academic institutions, health professional societies, consumer organizations, and other stakeholders to conduct research, evidence synthesis, evidence translation, dissemination, and implementation of research findings.

To learn more:

Contact us at