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Updated NAEPP Guidelines Emphasize Asthma Control in Pregnant Women

(January 11, 2005 - Updated guidelines emphasizing the optimal management of asthma in pregnant women are featured in a Quick Reference Guide in the January 2005 Journal of Allergy & Clinical Immunology (JACI). The JACI is the peer-reviewed scientific journal of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI).

Asthma affects up to 8% of pregnant women, making it potentially the most common serious medical problem to complicate pregnancy. The condition worsens in approximately 30% of pregnant patients.

Through the National Asthma Education and Prevention Program (NAEPP) an expert panel on asthma and pregnancy has updated the evidence-based management guidelines for the pharmacological treatment of asthma during pregnancy. Managing Asthma during Pregnancy: Recommendations for Pharmacologic Treatment - Update 2004 emphasize that inadequate control of asthma is a risk to the fetus as well as to the mother, and that most asthma medications are safe for both mother and fetus.

"The NAEPP expert panel's review of the evidence concludes that it is safer for pregnant women with asthma to be treated with asthma medications than for them to have asthma symptoms and exacerbations," stated NHLBI Acting Director Barbara Alving, M.D. "The guidelines also recommend that obstetric care providers become part of the patient's asthma management team to help ensure that the patient's asthma is evaluated frequently and her care plan is adjusted as needed to help her have a healthy pregnancy," added Alving.

The updated 2004 NAEPP guidelines provide:

> Recommendations for a step-wise approach to treatment based on asthma severity

> Summary of gestational safety data for specific asthma medications

> Recommendations for monitoring asthma control during pregnancy so that adjustments in therapy can be made, if necessary, to maintain the mother's lung function and ensure oxygen supply to the fetus.

The NAEPP was initiated in 1989 by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) to address the growing problem of asthma in the United States. The NAEPP convenes expert panels in order to help health care professionals bridge the gap between current knowledge and practice. First released in 1993, the NAEPP's recommendations for the treatment of asthma during pregnancy have been revised as new asthma medications and gestational safety data have emerged.

The complete NAEPP 2004 updated guidelines, the quick reference guide, and the evidence tables are available on the NHLBI Web site at

Source: AAAAI


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