Intended for healthcare professionals


New guidelines on the management of asthma

BMJ 2003; 326 doi: (Published 15 February 2003) Cite this as: BMJ 2003;326:346

Need to be widely disseminated to improve care of people with asthma

  1. P John Rees (, consultant physician
  1. Guy's, King's, and St Thomas's School of Medicine, London SE1 9RT

    Previous guidelines for the management of asthma produced by the British Thoracic Society and others have been disseminated widely and have been influential on the approach to asthma management in the United Kingdom and internationally. The latest full version was produced in 1993,1 with a review and position statement in 1995.2 The coordinating committee at that time predicted that the next revision would be a rewrite in 1997-8, so a new version is overdue. When we reviewed the 1993 guidelines we pointed out a lack of clarity on the evidence base and the need for expert opinion where evidence is lacking.3 Both of these areas are addressed in the new guidelines4 through the methods and format familiar from the Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network ( The new British guidelines have been produced jointly by the British Thoracic Society and Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network, in collaboration with various other bodies.

    The levels of evidence and grades of recommendations are given a clear hierarchy, but the method of the Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network also identifies “recommended best practice based on the clinical experience …

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