Original Contributions|Articles in Press


Published:February 28, 2023DOI:



      Guidelines recommend an inhaled corticosteroid (ICS) on emergency department (ED) discharge after acute asthma exacerbations.


      We sought to identify rates and predictors of ICS prescription at ED discharge. Secondary outcomes included ICS prescription rates in a high-risk subgroup, outpatient follow-up rates within 30 days, and variation in ICS prescriptions among attending emergency physicians. Methods: This was a retrospective cohort study of adult asthma ED discharges for acute asthma exacerbation across 5 urban academic hospitals. We used multivariable logistic regression to evaluate predictors of ICS prescription after adjusting for patient characteristics and hospital-level clustering.


      Among 3948 adult ED visits, an ICS was prescribed in 6% (n = 238) of visits. Only 14% (n = 552) completed an outpatient visit within 30 days. Among patients with 2 or more ED visits in 12 months, the ICS prescription rate was 6.7%. ICS administration in the ED (odds ratio [OR] 9.91; 95% CI 7.99–12.28) and prescribing a β-agonist on discharge (OR 2.67; 95% CI 2.08–3.44) were associated with higher odds of ICS prescription. Decreased odds of ICS prescription were associated with Hispanic ethnicity (OR 0.71; 95% CI 0.51–0.99) relative to Black race, and private (OR 0.75; 95% CI 0.62–0.91) or no insurance (OR 0.54; 95% CI 0.35–0.84) relative to Medicaid. One-third (36%, n = 66) of ED attendings prescribed 0 ICS prescriptions during the study period.


      An ICS is infrequently prescribed on ED asthma discharge, and most patients do not have an outpatient follow-up within 30 days. Future studies should examine the extent to which ED ICS prescriptions improve outcomes for patients with barriers to accessing primary care.


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