Low-income children with asthma are less likely to receive inhaled corticosteroid prescriptions that can prevent asthma morbidity.
To determine whether the receipt of inhaled corticosteroids in children with asthma is related to household socioeconomic status and type of drug insurance.
Using population-based prescription and health care data from Manitoba, a cohort study of the determinants of receiving new prescriptions for inhaled corticosteroids was conducted in children treated with asthma drugs.
School-aged children (n = 12 481) receiving asthma prescriptions from January 1995 to March 1996 but no inhaled corticosteroid prescriptions in the initial 6-month period.
Main Outcome Measures
Household socioeconomic and drug insurance predictors of the probability of receiving a new inhaled corticosteroid prescription from July 1995 to March 1998, following adjustment for disease and health care utilization factors.
In comparison with higher-income children insured through a provincial cost-sharing drug plan, the adjusted likelihood ratio for a new inhaled corticosteroid prescription was 0.88 (95% confidence interval, 0.80-0.97) in low-income children insured through the same drug plan and 0.82 (95% confidence interval, 0.76-0.88) in children receiving prescriptions at no charge through provincial income assistance or First Nations benefits programs (Winnipeg, Manitoba).
Independent of asthma severity, type of drug insurance, or health care utilization patterns, low-income children with asthma are significantly less likely to receive inhaled corticosteroid prescriptions.