The following is a summary of “Asthma remission: what is it and how can it be achieved?” published in the November 2022 issue of European Respiratory Journal by Thomas, et al.

Controlling symptoms and asthma attacks (exacerbations) is currently the primary focus of asthma treatment rather than achieving remission. Remission is not the same as being cured, although it is much closer. Current definitions of remission in asthma are discussed, along with its prevalence and determinants, pathogenesis, the feasibility of establishing remission with the currently known treatment choices, and future avenues for research.

To be in remission from asthma means to have achieved an extremely high level of disease control, with or without continued therapy, such that symptoms and exacerbations have been eliminated and lung function has been normalized or optimized. Unfortunately, persistent pathological abnormalities are typical even in patients who experience clinical remission of asthma, leaving them vulnerable to relapse at any time. In addition to alleviation of symptoms, complete remission necessitates correction or stabilization of any underlying illness. Asthma has a natural course that may include remission; between 2% and 52% of adults with asthma experience remission at some point. Mild asthma, improved lung function, better asthma management, younger age, earlier onset of asthma, shorter duration of asthma, less bronchial hyperresponsiveness, fewer comorbidities, and never smoking or never having smoked are all factors related to remission.

Although previous research has not specifically focused on treatment-induced remission, there is evidence to suggest that the current long-term add-on therapies, such as biologics and azithromycin, can achieve at least some criteria for asthma remission on treatment, at least in a subgroup of patients. Nonetheless, additional study is needed. In addition, researchers studying asthma treatments may wish to incorporate long-term remission as a therapeutic aim.