Differences in physicians' self-reported knowledge of, attitudes toward, and responses to the black box warning on long-acting β-agonists

Jill P. Karpel, Jay I. Peters, Anthony M. Szema, Brad Smith, Paula J. Anderson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Background: Inhaled corticosteroids and long-acting β-agonists (LABAs) are recommended for treating moderate to severe persistent asthma. The Food and Drug Administration has issued a black box warning (BBW) for LABAs. Objective: To investigate physician knowledge of the BBW and its effect on the practice of specialists (pulmonologists and allergists) and primary care physicians (PCPs) (internists and family physicians). Methods: A total of 1,107 physicians responded to a questionnaire to determine their awareness of the BBW and whether it changed their practice. Results: The group comprised 429 pulmonologists (38.8%), 395 allergists (35.7%), 141 internists (12.7%), 132 family physicians (11.9%), and 10 pediatricians (0.9%). Comparing specialists with PCPs, there was approximately a 10% difference in the rate of knowledge concerning the BBW (99.0% vs 90.8%, P < .001). Approximately a quarter of specialists agreed with the BBW compared with 52.9% of family physicians and 40.3% of internists. Twice as many PCPs vs specialists agreed with the warning (45.6% vs 24.2%, P < .001). The PCPs were more likely to alter their prescribing habits than were specialists (40.1% vs 34.6%, P < .005). Specialists were more likely to discuss the warning with patients than were PCPs (87.4% vs 64.8%, P < .001). For mild persistent asthma, most respondents chose inhaled corticosteroids as the preferred first-line therapy, but 11.4% of PCPs and 2.1% of specialists identified LABA monotherapy as their first choice. For moderate to severe asthma, the pattern of response was similar. Conclusion: Although most physicians were aware of the BBW for LABAs, there was a difference in how specialists and PCPs approached it and altered their prescribing habits.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)304-310
Number of pages7
JournalAnnals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


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