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‘Complete control’, the 1977 single from the Clash, was a violent response to attempts by record company executives to control the band’s output. Health professionals and patients, also aspire to complete control - of asthma. In a systematic review in this month’s Thorax Petsky and colleagues rigorously evaluate asthma control through eosinophilic markers (exhaled nitric oxide or sputum eosinophils) ( see page 1110 ). They include 16 studies based on the use of FeNO and six which used sputum eosinophils. Participants (who included both adults and children) randomised to the eosinophilic marker strategies were significantly less likely to have exacerbations. However, complete control was not achieved for inhaled corticosteroid dose, asthma control or lung function, with no significant difference between arms. So ‘complete control’ of the airways proves just as elusive as control of …
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