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BACKGROUND: Combination low-dose budesonide-formoterol, taken as-needed for symptom relief reduces exacerbation risk and is recommended for treatment of mild asthma. The NovelQ qualitative study explored patients' attitudes toward using this novel therapy. METHODS: Adults with mild asthma using reliever-only treatment were randomised to as-needed budesonide-formoterol Turbuhaler® in a multinational, 52-week open-label randomised controlled trial (NovelSTART-ACTRN12615000999538). A subgroup were interviewed to explore their attitudes to use of as-needed budesonide-formoterol after receiving it for ≥10 months. Semi-structured interviews were conducted until saturation, audio-recorded, and thematically analysed. RESULTS: Analysis of 35 participants (66% female; mean age 43.5 [range 18-74]; mean Asthma Control Questionnaire score 1.09 ± SD0.55) interviews identified 5 themes, each including both barriers and facilitators to therapy use. Themes were: 'Treatment effectiveness' i.e. how well symptoms were relieved and/or prevented; 'Lifestyle fit of the regimen' e.g. the extent to which the treatment regimen integrated into the patient's daily life; 'Attitudes toward medication use and safety' e.g. openness for new reliever treatments, beliefs about treatment necessity or side effects; 'Device attributes' e.g. perceived ease of use; and 'Doctor-patient relationship' e.g. impact of health professional support on new treatment acceptance. CONCLUSIONS: A wide range of factors seem to drive the opinions of mild asthma patients on as-needed budesonide-formoterol therapy. Many patients perceived both positive and negative treatment attributes, and their individual evaluation of these attributes determined their likelihood of using it after the study. Supportive patient-physician interactions appear key to addressing patient barriers. Recommendations for patient-centred discussions, developed from this research, are provided.

Original publication




Journal article


Respir Med

Publication Date





Asthma, Drug combinations, Medication adherence, Mild asthma, Patient preference, Physician-patient relations, Qualitative research