According to a study in The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, stepping down asthma medications can be done safely and at less cost.

In order to better understand the risks related to the right time in stepping down daily asthma therapy, Matthew Rank, MD, an allergy and immunology specialist at Mayo Clinic in Arizona evaluated asthma outcomes after patients stepped down from their daily asthma medicines. Over 4,000 children and adults were studied and researchers focused on two groups: patients who had stable asthma for ≥1 year who stayed on their same daily asthma medicine; and patients who had stable asthma for ≥1 year who stepped down their daily asthma medicine. 

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Study results showed that stepping down medication in patients who have had stable asthma for ≥1 year appear to be as safe as continuing the same level of medicines; only 11% of patients had issues with their asthma in the 4–5 months post-step down of their asthma medicines. 

From a financial perspective, the study found that patients who stepped down from their asthma medicines saved about $34/month vs. patients who maintained their same level of medicines. No increased costs were found for patients who stepped down for hospital or emergency asthma care. Further, patients who stepped down did not miss more work or school than those who maintained their same level of medicines. 

Patients with asthma may be able to safely reduce their asthma medicines with the appropriate guidance from their healthcare teams, Dr. Rank concluded. 

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