What is Refractory (Non-Reversible) Asthma?

Asthma is a heterogeneous disease or an inflammatory disorder of the airway related to airflow impediment and bronchial hyper-responsiveness, which ranges in severity across the continuum of the diseases.

Most patients with asthma are diagnosed easily and are provided with standard and effective treatment for control of symptoms with long-term therapy for the control of airway inflammation.

However, things are not as easy for patients suffering from severe refractory eosinophilic asthma.

Wondering what is refractory asthma and how it can be controlled? Read on…

Refractory Asthma Definition

The term refractory asthma is referred to those groups of patients who suffer from problems that are difficult to control.

Brittle asthma, irreversible asthma, or poorly controlled asthma are additional names that are given to these types of asthma problems.

Patients are considered to suffer from refractory asthma (stubborn, severe, or unmanageable) when they feel or experience sure importunate signs and symptoms like frequent asthma attacks, chest tightness, sputum production, cough mainly at night (or in the morning hours), feeling breathlessness and low lung functioning.

Here, adequate control cannot be achieved in a considerable ratio through the application of possible treatment options as it involves severe constriction and inflammation of the airways, making it much more difficult to breathe.

The rate of Refractory Asthma increases when the communities adopt the western style and get urbanized. Here, despite the extensive re-evaluation of the diagnosis and the management over an observation period of nearly 6 months, patients find it difficult to control their severe asthma symptoms.

The worse thing is, even with regular asthma medications, they did not seem to get the relief. Few refractory asthma patients, in this case, need to take oral steroids like prednisone to manage the attack of asthma.


Most of the test for Refractory asthma involves the assessment of a person’s capacity to inhale and exhale the air under changing conditions.

A bronchoscopy presents a more direct examination of the lungs during which a physician or a specialist inserts a stretchy and a small tube into the nasal passage and threads it into the airways safely.

The bronchoscope has a small camera to present a visual inspection of the airways. In such conditions, fluid can be gathered from the airways, and a biopsy can regain small samples of the lung tissue.

The method is performed with a patient under light sedation.

Refractory Asthma Treatment

While regular anti-inflammatory treatment with inhaled corticosteroids supports and helps numerous asthma patients, there are specific numbers of patients who require a more modified diagnosis with treatment.

Patients with this sort of non-reversible asthma require a systematic and rigorous approach to treatment. Treatment with oral corticosteroids and high-dose inhaled corticosteroids are required to control it.

Fortunately, comprehensive individual education is also now available and has been provided, which encourages asthma management skills for early identification and treatment.

This helps to reduce the emergency attacks and visits to the hospitals regularly for the patients.

The refractory period after asthma (such as exercise-induced asthma) can vary in individuals with different immunity and severity.

While following the above treatment guidelines can help, leading a healthy and organic is mainly recommended for avoiding severe conditions.