European Journal of Clinical Pharmacology

, Volume 66, Issue 4, pp 399–406 | Cite as

Prevalence, incidence and persistence of anti-asthma medication use in 2- to 29-year-olds: a nationwide prescription study

  • Øystein KarlstadEmail author
  • Per Nafstad
  • Aage Tverdal
  • Svetlana Skurtveit
  • Kari Furu
Pharmacoepidemiology and Prescription



The purpose of this study was to examine gender- and age-specific prevalence, incidence, and the type of anti-asthma medications used in the Norwegian population aged 2–29 years during 2005–2007 and to estimate the share of individuals who regularly redeemed medications over a 3-year period.


We retrieved data from the nationwide Norwegian Prescription Database for all individuals 2–29 years old (n = 1.7 million) who received anti-asthma medications during 2005–2007. Medications included inhaled short- and long-acting β2-agonists, inhaled corticosteroids, fixed-dose combinations of inhaled β2-agonists and corticosteroids, and leukotriene antagonists.


In 2007, 5.5% (92,074 individuals) of Norwegians aged 2–29 years received anti-asthma medication, and this figure was stable throughout 2005–2007. Prevalence and incidence were higher among males than females but shifted to female dominance during adolescence. The share of anti-asthma medication users who received inhaled corticosteroids was high in preschool children but decreased by age. Conversely, use of inhaled β2-agonists as monotherapy and of fixed combinations increased with age. Fewer than half the individuals were “persistent” to medication treatment for 3 years by redeeming prescriptions regularly (at least once a year).


In this nationwide study, annual prevalence of anti-asthma medication use was stable during 2005–2007. The gender- and age-specific profile of prevalence and incidence correspond well with other studies. Fewer than half the individuals redeemed prescriptions regularly over 3 years.


Asthma Norway Pharmacoepidemiology Prescription database 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Øystein Karlstad
    • 1
    • 3
    Email author
  • Per Nafstad
    • 1
    • 2
  • Aage Tverdal
    • 1
  • Svetlana Skurtveit
    • 1
  • Kari Furu
    • 1
  1. 1.Division of EpidemiologyNorwegian Institute of Public HealthOsloNorway
  2. 2.Institute of General Practice and Community MedicineUniversity of OsloOsloNorway
  3. 3.Division of Epidemiology, Department of PharmacoepidemiologyNorwegian Institute of Public HealthOsloNorway

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