People with severe asthma are actually less likely to respond to steroid treatment than people with mild asthma, a study suggests.
The finding comes from the ongoing U-BIOPRED study, which involves 300 children and 700 adults. It is looking at how severe asthma differs from one person to another in the hope of categorising the disease into sub-groups.
Initial results showed 55% of adults with severe asthma took regular oral corticosteroids and yet showed greater airway obstruction than those with mild-moderate asthma.
Patients with severe asthma still experienced exacerbations and severe symptoms, despite taking high doses of the corticosteroids.
In children the level of airway obstruction in severe and mild-moderate asthma was similar.
Lead study author David Gibeon, from Imperial College, London, said: “We would like to understand why people with more severe asthma are less responsive to the effects of corticosteroids.
“Our parallel work on the ways in which patients with asthma respond to corticosteroid treatment, which is a commonly-used treatment for asthma, show that asthmatics may become less responsive to this treatment in many different molecular ways,” he said.
“This initial analysis will provide an overview of the groups which exist within asthma, which will help us develop a more personalised approach to treating the individual patient with asthma,” he added.
The study was presented at the European Respiratory Society annual congress in Barcelona.