Surge in Asthma Medication Sales Linked to Poor Air Quality in January
Surge in Asthma Medication Sales Linked to Poor Air Quality in January

New Delhi: Sales of asthma medication soared in January as severe winter conditions coupled with dangerously high levels of pollution led to widespread breathing difficulties, according to reports from data analytical companies IQVIA and Pharmarack.

Pharmacies reported that the most commonly sold medicines in January were for asthma, followed by cardiac drugs, anti-infection drugs, and gastrointestinal medicines.

In contrast, the highest sales in December were for cardiac drugs. According to IQVIA's January report, Foracort, primarily used for asthma and respiratory issues, experienced the most significant increase in sales, followed by insulins Mixtard and Lantus, Betadine antiseptic, Moxikind-CV for bacterial infections, and Levipil for epilepsy.

Among cardiac medications, Enoxaparin, used to prevent blood clots, particularly in patients on bed rest or undergoing hip, knee, or stomach surgery, saw a 20% increase in monthly sales in January.

"There was a substantial increase in the number of asthma patients this time. We noticed that the surge was not limited to any specific age group and affected people across all ages. However, we observed more severe cases among the elderly. As a precautionary measure, inhalers and nebulizers are recommended for asthma patients in emergencies. Patients are provided with an asthma action plan so that treatment can be initiated at home during emergencies," said Dr. Neetu Jain, senior consultant in pulmonology critical care and sleep medicine at PSRI Hospital.

In Delhi, January marked the most polluted month since 2016, with an average Air Quality Index (AQI) of 354. The highest average AQI in January was recorded in 2016 at 370.

Data from the Central Pollution Control Board indicates that this January saw three days with a 'severe' AQI and an extended period of 'very poor' air quality for most days. Only one day was reported as having 'poor' air quality in January.

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