26 July 2002
Early results from the world's largest trial of the Buteyko breathing method for asthma management show that almost all participants used less reliever and preventer medication after 6 months of therapy.
Jill McGowan, a former GP practice nurse and university lecturer, is conducting a self-funded randomised controlled trial among 600 people aged from 18 to 75 years with mild to severe asthma recruited from primary care and hospital clinics in Glasgow, Scotland.
Ms McGowan will tell the 2nd International Buteyko Asthma Conference in Melbourne this weekend that trial participants receiving the instruction had reduced symptoms, improved quality of life and participation in sports activity at 6 months — and that this was sustained at 12 months.
Among the active Buteyko group, almost all of the participants (98 per cent) reduced use of reliever medication, 92 per cent decreased their use of preventer medication, and 96 per cent used less oral preventer preparations. All people in this group stopped using oral reliever preparations. The size of decrease in medication use was uncertain, however.
No significant changes were seen in the placebo group, which received conventional asthma management by a practice nurse, or in the control group, which sought help and advice as required.
In response to the early results of the 2-year trial, the British Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health has asked the National Institute for Clinical Excellence, which issues therapeutic guidelines, to consider including the Buteyko method in future technology appraisals programmes for the UK.
Last Reviewed: 26 July 2002