Bronchial Asthma, Book

Family physicians interested in asthma would find parts of this book valuable, but on the whole, it is not for family physicians. In the preface the editors declare that they hope the book will be useful to those who treat asthma, and for specialists it might well be. Although chapter authors include physicians from Australia, Japan, Portugal, Belgium, Poland, and Canada, most are from the United States.

Drug Treatments

Confronted with the increasingly favorable treatment outcomes associated with cognitive behavioral packages, there are three possible reasons why pharmacological interventions might be considered. First, it could be that pharmacological interventions achieve the same outcomes as the cognitive behavioral therapy packages but at a cheaper cost (financially to the patient or in terms of therapist time), with fewer dropouts, lower relapse rates, and with fewer associated difficulties (such as side-effects). Second, it could be that pharmacological treatments may be useful adjuncts to the cognitive behavioral therapy packages.

Panic disorder and agoraphobia

In 1988, Barlow examined the evidence from around the world and concluded that “with specifically targeted psychological treatments, panic is eliminated in close to 100% of all cases, and these results are maintained at follow-ups of over 1 year. If these results are confirmed by additional research and replication, it will be one of the most important and exciting developments in the history of psychotherapy”. The question facing researchers and clinicians alike is, with the benefit of more than a decade of subsequent research and replication, “Is it possible to concur with Barlow’s statement?”.

Is asthma preventable?

In an individual who has been diagnosed with asthma, the focus of contemporary treatment emphasizes prevention of symptoms such as breathlessness, chest discomfort, cough, mucus production, and wheezing. Certain asthma medications, sometimes referred to as “controller medicine,” are designed and prescribed to maintain normal lung function, and to prevent an exacerbation of asthma — what used to be called an asthma “attack”. Identification of an individual’s asthma triggers and avoidance of exposure to the triggers are other ways to prevent an asthma exacerbation.