Effectiveness of a multi-level asthma intervention in increasing controller medication use: A randomized control trial

Glorisa Canino, Patrick E. Shrout, Doryliz Vila, Rafael Ramírez, Cynthia Rand

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: Poor self-management by families is an important factor in explaining high rates of asthma morbidity in Puerto Rico, and for this reason we previously tested a family intervention called CALMA that was found effective in improving most asthma outcomes, but not effective in increasing the use of controller medications. CALMA-plus was developed to address this issue by adding to CALMA, components of provider training and screening for asthma in clinics. Methods: Study participants were selected from claims Medicaid data in San Juan, Puerto Rico. After screening, 404 children in eight clinics were selected after forming pairs of clinics and randomizing the clinics) to CALMA-only or CALMA-plus. Results: For all three primary outcomes at 12 months, the mean differences between treatment arms were small but in the predicted direction. However, after adjusting for clinic variation, the study failed to demonstrate that the CALMA-plus intervention was more efficacious than the CALMA-only intervention for increasing controller medication use, or decreasing asthma symptoms. Both groups had lower rates of asthma symptoms and service utilization, consistent with previous results of the CALMA-only intervention. Conclusions: Compliance of providers with the intervention and training, small number of clinics available and the multiple barriers experienced by providers for medicating may have been related to the lack of difference observed between the groups. Future interventions should respond to the limitations of the present study design and provide more resources to providers that will increase provider participation in training and implementation of the intervention.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)301-310
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Asthma
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 15 2016


  • Asthma medication intervention
  • Latinos
  • randomized control trial

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


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