High levels of anxiety are a risk factor for loss of asthma control and decline in disease-related quality of life, according to the results of a recent study published in The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice.
Patients being treated with omalizumab, mepolizumab, or benralizumab in the National Severe Asthma Treatment Program were surveyed at their first clinic visit after coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO). Participants took the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI), which is a validated tool for measuring anxiety in adults as well as a 15-item questionnaire, which the authors named “COVID-19 survey.” The survey was developed to assess concerns of the effect of COVID-19 on patients’ anxiety, asthma, and quality of life.
Of the 88 patients with severe asthma surveyed, 62% experienced a reduction in asthma-related quality of life, while 20% experienced an increase in asthma-related quality of life and 18% had no changes. Additionally, 22 of the 88 patients showed a significant decline in symptom control and 18 patients showed a significant decline in quality of life. A majority of patients reported that the current pandemic considerably affected their responses. However, none of the patients experienced an exacerbation in the 3 months following the assessment.
“Our results show that high levels of anxiety may be a risk factor of clinical worsening in patients with severe asthma,” the study authors wrote. They added that regular screening of patients with severe asthma using the STAI questionnaire could be valuable, and that further studies should assess whether an intervention related to reducing anxiety could help improve asthma control.
Lacwik P, Szydłowska D, Kupczyk M, Pałczyński C, Kuna P. High levels of anxiety during the COVID-19 pandemic as a risk factor of clinical worsening in patients with severe asthma. J Allergy Clin Immunol Pract. Published online January 10, 2021. doi:10.1016/j.jaip.2020.12.060