Allergy Asthma Immunol Res.  2019 Mar;11(2):280-290. 10.4168/aair.2019.11.2.280.

Prescription Patterns and Burden of Pediatric Asthma in Korea

  • 1Department of Pediatrics, Severance Hospital, Institute of Allergy, Brain Korea 21 PLUS Project for Medical Science, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.
  • 2Department of Pediatrics, Hanyang University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.
  • 3Biostatistics Collaboration Unit, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.


This study aimed to estimate the prevalence, prescription pattern and burden of pediatric asthma in Korea by analyzing the National Health Insurance (NHI) claims data.
We retrospectively analyzed the insurance claim records from the Korean NHI claims database from January 2010 to December 2014. Asthmatic patients were defined as children younger than 18 years, with appropriate 10th Revision of the International Classification of Diseases codes (J45 or J46) and a prescription for 1 or more asthma maintenance medications at the same date. Hospitalization and emergency department visits for asthma were defined as use of short-acting beta2-agonists during hospital visits among asthmatic patients.
There were 1,172,807 asthmatic children in 2010, which increased steadily to 1,590,228 in 2014 in Korea. The prevalence showed an increasing trend annually for all ages. The mean prevalence by age in those older than 2 years decreased during the study period (from 39.4% in the 2-3 year age group to 2.6% in the 15-18 year age group). In an outpatient prescription, leukotriene receptor antagonists were the most commonly prescribed medication for all ages. Patients older than 6 years for whom inhaled corticosteroids were prescribed comprised less than 15% of asthmatic patients. The total direct medical cost for asthma between 2010 and 2014 ranged from $376 to $483 million. Asthma-related medical cost per person reached its peak in $366 in 2011 and decreased to $275 in 2014.
The prevalence of pediatric asthma increased annually and decreased with age. Individual cost of asthma showed a decreasing trend in Korean children.


Asthma; illness burden; child; insurance claims analysis; prescription; prevalence
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