Where the diagnosis of asthma is suspected but not confirmed by objective tests, and the patient experiences short lived, intermittent symptoms, the occasional use of short-acting beta agonist (SABA) may be the only treatment required.
Adults and children with a diagnosis of asthma should be prescribed a short-acting bronchodilator to relieve symptoms. For those with infrequent short-lived wheeze, occasional use of reliever therapy may be the only treatment required.
Only those patients suffering intermittent mild asthma should be prescribed beta-agonists as first-line therapy, and healthcare professionals need to be aware of the signs of more persistent or severe asthma. For example, if use of beta-agonists occurs more than twice a week, the patient should be considered for maintenance low-dose ICS in addition to reliever medication. For persistent asthma, low-dose inhaled corticosteroids are recommended. Patients ordering more than three Short-acting beta agonist (SABA) inhalers per year should be reviewed urgently, because their asthma is not controlled.