This guideline covers diagnosing, monitoring and managing asthma in adults, young people and children. It aims to improve the accuracy of diagnosis, help people to control their asthma and reduce the risk of asthma attacks. It does not cover managing severe asthma or acute asthma attacks. The investment and training required to implement the guideline will take time. In the meantime, primary care services should implement what they can of the recommendations, using currently available approaches to diagnosis until the infrastructure for objective testing is in place.
This guideline includes recommendations on:
- initial clinical assessment
- diagnosing asthma in young children
- objective tests for diagnosing asthma (including diagnostic algorithms)
- pharmacological treatment
- adherence, self-management and decreasing treatment
- monitoring asthma control
Who is it for?
- GPs and practice nurses
- Healthcare professionals in secondary care and tertiary asthma services
- Commissioners and providers
- People with suspected or diagnosed asthma, their families and carers
Is this guideline up to date?
We checked this guideline in November 2018, and we are updating the recommendation for children and young people on increasing inhaled corticosteroids treatment within a self-management programme when asthma control deteriorates.
We recognise that implementing the new approach to diagnosis in this guideline will need a big change in practice. See putting this guideline into practice.
Guideline development process
The recommendations in this guideline represent the view of NICE, arrived at after careful consideration of the evidence available. When exercising their judgement, professionals and practitioners are expected to take this guideline fully into account, alongside the individual needs, preferences and values of their patients or the people using their service. It is not mandatory to apply the recommendations, and the guideline does not override the responsibility to make decisions appropriate to the circumstances of the individual, in consultation with them and their families and carers or guardian.
Local commissioners and providers of healthcare have a responsibility to enable the guideline to be applied when individual professionals and people using services wish to use it. They should do so in the context of local and national priorities for funding and developing services, and in light of their duties to have due regard to the need to eliminate unlawful discrimination, to advance equality of opportunity and to reduce health inequalities. Nothing in this guideline should be interpreted in a way that would be inconsistent with complying with those duties.
Commissioners and providers have a responsibility to promote an environmentally sustainable health and care system and should assess and reduce the environmental impact of implementing NICE recommendations wherever possible.