According to a new study, illicit drug use and low socioeconomic status were associated with an increased risk of requiring admission to the intensive care unit (ICU) among patients admitted to the hospital for asthma. In addition, not adhering to asthma prevention medication also increased the risk. The research study included 482 asthma patients admitted to the hospital between January 2010 and January 2014.

Of the study’s participants, 39 required intensive care. According to a Science Daily report, the findings may help clinicians assess asthma patients’ risks and monitor their health during hospitalizations.

Senior author of the study Dr Eli Dabscheck says, “Illicit drug use can lead to poor self-management of asthma, and predispose to life-threatening asthma attacks. Further studies are needed to identify the exact effects of these individual illicit substances, which included heroin and marijuana.”

“These findings are also important because they identify modifiable risk factors in people with asthma,” explains co-author of the study Professor Mark Hew. “Doctors reviewing patients with asthma in the community usually check their smoking status. Our study highlights the need to also ask them whether they use illicit substances, and work with them to address these risky behaviors.”

Source: Science Daily