Asthma management by general practitioners in Pakistan

Document Type



Pulmonary and Critical Care


SETTING: Teaching university hospital in Karachi, Pakistan.

Objectives: Asthma management guidelines have been developed to assist practising physicians in treating asthma patients. The objective of this study was to evaluate if the prescribing habits of practitioners in Karachi were consistent with the published asthma guidelines.

Design: A questionnaire survey was conducted among practitioners attending a pulmonary continuing medical education (CME) programme. Three case scenarios of asthma were given, and the doctors were asked to write a prescription for each case. Doctors were asked about their views on inhaler therapy and dietary restrictions in asthma.

Results: Of 120 doctors, 100 (83%) responded. Thirty different regimens of short acting beta2-agonist and 16 regimens of steroid therapy were prescribed by the practitioners. Only 35% of the doctors prescribed corticosteroids for persistent asthma symptoms. The great majority of doctors were not aware of treatment options for persistent symptoms despite the use of preventive therapy (8% prescribed long-acting beta2-agonists, 6% high-dose inhaled corticosteroids and 13% theophyllines). Misconceptions about inhaler therapy and diet were found in 20 and 50 doctors, respectively.

CONCLUSION: General practitioners in Pakistan did not follow asthma management guidelines. There was serious lack of knowledge about asthma medications coupled with misconceptions about inhaler therapy and dietary factors.


The International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease