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Usage of long-acting muscarinic antagonists and biologics as add-on therapy for patients in the United States with moderate-to-severe asthma

Many asthma patients remain uncontrolled on inhaled corticosteroids (ICS) and long-acting beta agonists (LABAs), but guidance for selecting add-on therapies, including long-acting muscarinic antagonists (LAMAs) or biologics, is limited. We describe how prescribing practices for add-on LAMA and biologic therapy have changed with increased treatment options and revised treatment guidelines. We further identify differences in treatment initiation and discontinuation rates by patient characteristics, including concomitant COPD. This retrospective cohort study analyzed insurance claims in the IBM Marketscan database for adult US asthma patients treated with medium- or high-dose ICS/LABA between 2012 and 2019 (n = 277,373). We used negative binomial regression models to evaluate LAMA and biologic initiation rates and their association with patient characteristics, and survival analysis methods for assessing discontinuation rates. Between 2012 and 2019, LAMA and biologic uptake increased approximately 5-fold and 20-fold, respectively. LAMA initiation was significantly higher among patients with concomitant COPD, a group typically unstudied in clinical trials, versus those with asthma only (rate ratio of 5.90, 95% CI: 5.76-6.04). High-dose ICS/LABA treatment and the need for oral corticosteroid (OCS) bursts had stronger associations with biologic initiation. Probability of discontinuation (i.e. non-persistence) in the first year was 40.5% and 22.7% for those initiating LAMAs and biologics, respectively, with higher LAMA discontinuation rates among patients with asthma only versus those with concomitant COPD. Our results provide insights into how clinicians apply treatment guidelines for initiating add-on LAMA and biologic therapies in moderate-to-severe asthma patients and highlight patients who have an unmet treatment need after discontinuation.

Authors: Spain, C Victor; Dayal, Parul; Ding, Yingjie; Iribarren, Carlos; Omachi, Theodore A; Chen, Hubert

J Asthma. 2022 06;59(6):1237-1247. Epub 2021-05-22.

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