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Nocturnal asthma

Richard J Martin, MD
Section Editors
Peter J Barnes, DM, DSc, FRCP, FRS
Robert A Wood, MD
Deputy Editor
Helen Hollingsworth, MD


Nocturnal worsening of asthma is a well-described and important problem that must be considered in the management of patients with asthma [1]. In particular, nocturnal asthma symptoms are felt to be a characteristic feature of asthma that is not well-controlled [2,3].

An overview of nocturnal asthma will be reviewed here. An overview of asthma management and the treatment of moderate persistent and severe persistent asthma are discussed separately. (See "An overview of asthma management" and "Treatment of moderate persistent asthma in adolescents and adults" and "Treatment of severe asthma in adolescents and adults".)


Nocturnal asthma is common and approximately 30 to 70 percent of patients with asthma report nocturnal asthma symptoms at least once a month [4-7].  

In a cross-sectional survey of 13,493 patients with persistent asthma, prevalence of nocturnal symptoms was 60 percent [8].

Among 1041 children with mild-to-moderate asthma followed in the Childhood Asthma Management Program, 34 percent experienced one or more nocturnal awakenings in the 28-day screening period [6].

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Literature review current through: Nov 2017. | This topic last updated: Mar 23, 2017.
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