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Embargoed Release Date
Contact:  Nancy Ryan 847-427-1200, ext. 254
February 3, 2010
nancyryan@acaai.org

Herbal Remedies Linked to Poor Asthma Control

ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. – Use of herbal remedies results in poorer quality of life and increased frequency of symptoms in asthma patients, according to a study published this month in Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, the scientific journal of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI).
 “Results indicate patients using herbal remedies are less likely to take their prescribed medications,” said Angkana Roy, M.D., lead author, Department of Pediatrics, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York.  “These patients report worse asthma control and poorer quality of life than patients who follow medication plans. Underuse of prescribed medication is one of the main factors contributing to poor outcomes in asthma patients.”
The study tracked 326 asthma patients over a 33-month period. Of those, 25 percent reported herbal remedy use and lower adherence to use of prescribed inhaled corticosteroids (ICS).  Patients using herbal remedies were younger, more likely to have been hospitalized or intubated for asthma, have concerns about possible adverse effects of ICS and have difficulty following a medication schedule.
“Patients interested in herbal remedies need to use them to complement treatment and not as an alternative, or they will not maximize their health and may actually hinder it as this study shows,” said Leonard Bielory, M.D., ACAAI Integrative Medicine Committee chair.  “Remember, asthma is a serious disease and needs to be treated that way.  Always ask your allergist about medication concerns and discuss use of herbal remedies.”
Consumers and patients can take a simple online test to gauge their asthma symptoms and obtain a personalized plan on how to get relief at www.AllergyAndAsthmaRelief.org. 
“Anyone with asthma should be able to feel good, be active all day and sleep well at night,” said Dr. Bielory. “No one should accept anything less.” 
About ACAAI
The ACAAI is a professional medical organization headquartered in Arlington Heights, Ill., that promotes excellence in the practice of the subspecialty of allergy and immunology. The College, comprising more than 5,000 allergists-immunologists and related health care professionals, fosters a culture of collaboration and congeniality in which its members work together and with others toward the common goals of patient care, education, advocacy and research.
To learn more about allergies and asthma and to find an allergist, visit www.AllergyAndAsthmaRelief.org

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