Evidence
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Vitamin D supplements may reduce the chance of developing a chest infection

Vitamin D supplements may reduce the chances of contracting an acute respiratory tract infection, particularly for those with low existing levels of vitamin D. This NIHR-funded study pooled patient data from 25 randomised controlled trials and found that daily or weekly supplements reduced respiratory tract infections compared with placebo. About 20 people would need to ...

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Asthma self-management programmes can reduce unscheduled care

People with asthma who receive supported self-management are less likely to attend A&E or be admitted to hospital. The interventions are unlikely to increase overall costs for healthcare services. Those who self-manage are also likely to have more controlled asthma and a better quality of life. This extensive overview of systematic reviews included evidence from ...

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An end of life strategy probably improved choice of where to die for people with severe respiratory disease

Most people prefer not to die in hospital, but the majority of patients with long-term diseases other than cancer end up dying there. In England, an NIHR study based on routine collected national data showed that roll-out of the End of Life Care strategy in 2004 was linked to a reduction in deaths in hospital. ...

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Pneumococcal vaccines for people with COPD reduce their chance of catching pneumonia

Pneumococcal vaccines reduce the risk of community-acquired pneumonia in people with moderate to severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Pneumococcal vaccination is currently recommended for people with COPD and other respiratory diseases. However, until now there has been a lack of data whether it actually improves outcomes in these groups. This updated Cochrane review identified ...

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Combination inhaler treatment in emergency departments may reduce admissions for asthma attacks

Using a combination of two inhaled drugs to open the airways may modestly reduce the need to admit an adult with asthma attack to hospital, though the underlying evidence is weak. The first-line treatment for an asthma attack is an inhaled β2 agonist, like salbutamol. This Cochrane review compared emergency department treatment with this drug ...

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GP letter to improve medication adherence did not reduce unplanned care for children with asthma

A one-off GP letter reminding parents of children with asthma to use their medications over the August summer holiday did not prevent a characteristic annual peak in unplanned care on returning to school in September, but did lead to more prescriptions. Unplanned care represents visits to the GP or accident and emergency that is not ...

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Long-term oxygen therapy shows no benefit for moderate lung disease

Long-term oxygen therapy for 16 hours per day did not lengthen life or the time until hospital admission for people with stable chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) who experience a moderate drop in blood oxygen levels with exercise or at rest. Nor did it improve their quality of life, lung function or anxiety and depression ...

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The nitric oxide breath test offers little benefit when monitoring asthma

Using exhaled nitric oxide levels to guide the dose of asthma medication at regular clinic visits may reduce flare-ups but does not improve overall symptoms or quality of life. In this review hospitalisations and the total inhaled steroid doses were unaffected by the intervention. Measuring the amount of fractional exhaled nitric oxide (FeNO) in the ...

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Study shows no benefit of an antibiotic for acute asthma

The antibiotic azithromycin did not reduce symptoms or change other outcomes in adults seeking emergency care for an acute asthma attack. However people not already taking antibiotics were hard to find and the trial failed to enrol enough people to answer the research question. In this UK-based trial, people with asthma who received azithromycin on ...

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Vitamin D supplements can reduce risk of asthma attacks

People with mild to moderate asthma experience fewer severe asthma attacks if they take vitamin D supplements. This review found that the average number of asthma attacks was equivalent to about one every four years in those taking vitamin D, compared to nearly one every two years in those taking a placebo. Half as many ...

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