Multimedication related to multimorbidity is common in the elderly with asthma. We aimed at comprehensively characterising medications used by elderly women and assessing how multimedication impacts on asthma prognosis.
We performed network-based analyses on drug administrative databases to visualise the prevalence of drug classes and their interconnections among 17 458 elderly women from the Asthma-E3N study, including 4328 women with asthma. Asthma groups sharing similar medication profiles were identified by a clustering method relying on all medications and were studied in association with adverse asthma events (uncontrolled asthma, attacks/exacerbations and poor asthma-related quality of life).
The network-based analysis showed more multimedication in women with asthma than in those without asthma. The clustering method identified three multimedication profiles in asthma: “Few multimorbidity-related medications” (43.5%), “Predominantly allergic multimorbidity-related medications” (32.8%) and “Predominantly metabolic multimorbidity-related medications” (23.7%). Compared with women belonging to the “Few multimorbidity-related medications” profile, women belonging to the two other profiles had an increased risk of uncontrolled asthma and asthma attacks/exacerbations, and had lower asthma-related quality of life.
The integrative data-driven approach on drug administrative databases identified specific multimorbidity-related medication profiles that were associated with poor asthma prognosis. These findings support the importance of multimorbidity in the unmet needs in asthma management.