September 10th, 2021

Survey of asthma patients found subgroup with limited acceptance of diagnosis.

In the US today, approximately 20 million adults have asthma. With no cure for asthma, around 8% of Americans use medication to prevent asthma attacks and control symptoms, while pharmaceutical companies quest for new or improved treatments and drug combinations.

To better understand patient attitudes toward their breathing problems or asthma diagnosis – along with the impact these attitudes have on clinical trial participation – SubjectWell fielded a survey from June 11 to 16, 2021, including 150 patients who either regularly have trouble breathing or have been diagnosed with asthma.

Of these 150 respondents, 97% reported using a doctor-prescribed inhaler, and 93% had been diagnosed with asthma by a doctor. Interestingly, 9% of the respondents said that they were diagnosed with asthma by a healthcare provider but still do not consider themselves to have asthma.


Respondents explain away their asthma diagnosis with a downplay of symptoms.

As part of our survey, we took a closer look at the disconnect between a respondent’s asthma diagnosis from a healthcare provider and their ability to accept their condition. When respondents were asked why they were unsure about their asthma diagnosis a few common themes emerged:

  • Rather than experiencing regular symptoms, their symptoms range from seasonal and infrequent, to no symptoms for a long period of time
  • They don’t have all the asthma-related symptoms, or their symptoms are minor
  • Their symptoms are under control due to medication use
  • Another condition is causing asthma-related symptoms, like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or allergies


Respondents split on the study name with the most appeal.

With evidence of diagnosis reluctancy from 9% of respondents, we explored if the trial’s name could impact research participation. Respondents were asked if they would be more likely to participate in a clinical trial for 1) a new asthma treatment or 2) a new treatment of breathing problems. The respondents’ preferences were evenly split.

Respondents’ likelihood of participating in a clinical trial:

48% are likely to participate in a trial for a new treatment of breathing problems

52% are likely to participate in a trial for a new asthma treatment

Regardless of trial name, likelihood of clinical trial participation is high within the asthma community.

We found 76% of respondents would participate in a clinical trial for asthma, regardless of the name.

However, with a small percent of asthma patients rejecting their diagnosis and nearly half preferring trials with generic names, such as “breathing problems” over asthma, adult asthma patients reveal a complicated relationship with the disease. Leveraging these points of view in patient outreach provides an opportunity for clinical trial sponsors to increase the effectiveness of their messaging and ultimately increasing overall participation in asthma related studies.

Be sure to check back on our website for more information related to patient recruitment and survey findings.

Have any questions for our marketplace? Reach out by emailing sales@subjectwell.com.