A survey found that the proportion of primary care physicians who were unfamiliar with biologics and their eligibility criteria did not vary based on the number of asthma patients seen each month.
Nearly half of primary care physicians reported being unfamiliar with biologics that are used to treat asthma, according to a survey presented at the 2023 American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) Annual Scientific Meeting.1
In the United States, the majority of patients with uncontrolled asthma are seen by primary care physicians who are not trained in biologic therapy like asthma care specialists are. This is despite the fact that biologics to treat asthma have been available for about 20 years and are known to keep symptoms under control.
“We know that many people who suffer from asthma are regularly seen by primary care physicians and we wanted to know if primary care physicians were familiar with biologics to treat asthma,” Bijalben Patel, lead author of the study, said in a release.2 “We also wanted to explore at what point primary care physicians were referring asthma patients with uncontrolled symptoms to asthma specialists, and whether they were aware of eligibility requirements for a patient to start biologic treatment.”
Investigators sent a REDCap survey by email to primary care attending and resident physicians in internal medicine, family medicine, and pediatrics departments. There was a total of 85 survey respondents and results were compared using Chi-square tests.
The study found that 42% of respondents were unfamiliar with asthma biologics, 82% don’t get labs done for patients, and 77% referred patients to specialists after 2 or more exacerbations per year. The proportion of primary care physicians who were unfamiliar with biologics and their eligibility criteria did not vary based on the number of asthma patients seen each month.
Additionally, primary care physicians who saw asthma patients more frequently and those who referred patients to specialists were more likely to get lab work to manage asthma.
“The results of the survey point to the need to improve the communication between primary care physicians and asthma care specialists, including regarding use of biologics,” Juan Carlos Cardet, a senior author of the study, said in a release.2 “Biologics have become an important tool in the treatment of asthma and other allergic diseases such as atopic dermatitis (eczema), chronic rhinosinusitis with nasal polyps and eosinophilic esophagitis, and can prevent substantial ill results from occurring in patients who are eligible for them.”