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Stepping down the dose of inhaled corticosteroids for adults with asthma

Overview of attention for article published in Cochrane database of systematic reviews, February 2017
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  • In the top 5% of all research outputs scored by Altmetric
  • High Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age (95th percentile)
  • High Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age and source (80th percentile)

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1 blog
56 tweeters
6 Facebook pages
1 Google+ user


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Stepping down the dose of inhaled corticosteroids for adults with asthma
Published in
Cochrane database of systematic reviews, February 2017
DOI 10.1002/14651858.cd011802.pub2
Pubmed ID

Iain Crossingham, David JW Evans, Nathan R Halcovitch, Paul A Marsden


Asthma is a condition of the airways affecting more than 300 million adults and children worldwide. National and international guidelines recommend titrating up the dose of inhaled corticosteroids (ICS) to gain symptom control at the lowest possible dose because long-term use of higher doses of ICS carries a risk of systemic adverse events. For patients whose asthma symptoms are controlled on moderate or higher doses of ICS, it may be possible to reduce the dose of ICS without compromising symptom control. To evaluate the evidence for stepping down ICS treatment in adults with well-controlled asthma who are already receiving a moderate or high dose of ICS. We identified trials from the Specialised Register of the Cochrane Airways Group and conducted a search of ClinicalTrials.gov (www.ClinicalTrials.gov) and the World Health Organization (WHO) trials portal (www.who.int/ictrp/en/). We searched all databases from their inception with no restriction on language. We also searched the reference lists of included studies and relevant reviews. We performed the most recent search in July 2016. We included randomised controlled trials (RCTs) of at least 12 weeks' duration and excluded cross-over trials. We looked for studies of adults (aged ≥ 18 years) whose asthma had been well controlled for a minimum of three months on at least a moderate dose of ICS. We excluded studies that enrolled participants with any other respiratory comorbidity.We included trials comparing a reduction in the dose of ICS versus no change in the dose of ICS in people with well-controlled asthma who a) were not taking a concomitant long-acting beta agonist (LABA; comparison 1), and b) were taking a concomitant LABA (comparison 2). Two review authors independently screened the search results for included studies, extracted data on prespecified outcomes of interest and assessed the risk of bias of included studies; we resolved disagreements by discussion with a third review author. We analysed dichotomous data as odds ratios (ORs) using study participants as the unit of analysis and analysed continuous data as mean differences (MDs). We used a random-effects model. We rated all outcomes using the GRADE (Grades of Recommendation, Assessment, Development and Evaluation) system and presented results in 'Summary of findings' tables. We included six studies, which randomised a total of 1654 participants (ICS dose reduction, no concomitant LABA (comparison 1): n = 892 participants, three RCTs; ICS dose reduction, concomitant LABA (comparison 2): n = 762 participants, three RCTs). All included studies were RCTs with a parallel design that compared a fixed dose of ICS versus a 50% to 60% reduction in the dose of ICS in adult participants with well-controlled asthma. The duration of the treatment period ranged from 12 to 52 weeks (mean duration 21 weeks; median duration 14 weeks). Two studies were performed in the setting of primary care, two were performed in the secondary care setting and two reported no information on setting.Meta-analysis was hampered by the small number of studies contributing to each comparison, combined with heterogeneity among outcomes reported in the included studies. We found the quality of synthesised evidence to be low or very low for most outcomes considered because of a risk of bias (principally, selective reporting), imprecision and indirectness. Although we found no statistically significant or clinically relevant differences between groups with respect to any of the primary or secondary outcomes considered in this review, the data were insufficient to rule out benefit or harm. The strength of the evidence is not sufficient to determine whether stepping down the dose of ICS is of net benefit (in terms of fewer adverse effects) or harm (in terms of reduced effectiveness of treatment) for adult patients with well-controlled asthma. A small number of relevant studies and varied outcome measures limited the number of meta-analyses that we could perform. Additional well-designed RCTs of longer duration are needed to inform clinical practice regarding use of a 'stepping down ICS' strategy for patients with well-controlled asthma.

Twitter Demographics

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Mendeley readers

The data shown below were compiled from readership statistics for 8 Mendeley readers of this research output. Click here to see the associated Mendeley record.

Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
Unknown 8 100%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Unspecified 18 225%
Student > Master 17 213%
Student > Ph. D. Student 14 175%
Other 9 113%
Student > Bachelor 7 88%
Other 24 300%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Medicine and Dentistry 36 450%
Unspecified 21 263%
Nursing and Health Professions 14 175%
Psychology 5 63%
Social Sciences 3 38%
Other 10 125%

Attention Score in Context

This research output has an Altmetric Attention Score of 40. This is our high-level measure of the quality and quantity of online attention that it has received. This Attention Score, as well as the ranking and number of research outputs shown below, was calculated when the research output was last mentioned on 01 May 2018.
All research outputs
of 13,150,564 outputs
Outputs from Cochrane database of systematic reviews
of 10,503 outputs
Outputs of similar age
of 344,560 outputs
Outputs of similar age from Cochrane database of systematic reviews
of 212 outputs
Altmetric has tracked 13,150,564 research outputs across all sources so far. Compared to these this one has done particularly well and is in the 96th percentile: it's in the top 5% of all research outputs ever tracked by Altmetric.
So far Altmetric has tracked 10,503 research outputs from this source. They typically receive a lot more attention than average, with a mean Attention Score of 20.6. This one has done well, scoring higher than 88% of its peers.
Older research outputs will score higher simply because they've had more time to accumulate mentions. To account for age we can compare this Altmetric Attention Score to the 344,560 tracked outputs that were published within six weeks on either side of this one in any source. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 95% of its contemporaries.
We're also able to compare this research output to 212 others from the same source and published within six weeks on either side of this one. This one has done well, scoring higher than 80% of its contemporaries.