Welcome to the PLEASANT study website

Preventing and Lessening Exacerbations of Asthma in School-age children Associated with a New Term

The PLEASANT study is a cluster randomised controlled trial investigating the effect of a postal intervention, sent to parents/carers of school age asthmatic children during the summer holidays, in reducing unscheduled medical contacts in September following return to school.

Why is this study taking place?

In the UK there is a pronounced increase in the number of visits to the doctor by school age children with asthma in September. It is thought that that this might be caused by the return back to school, suddenly mixing with other children again and picking up bugs which can affect their asthma.

During the school summer holidays there is a drop in the number of prescriptions for asthma medications. It has been suggested that August is a good month to be an asthmatic –children with asthma are not mixing with many other children and the pollen count is quite low – therefore children with asthma might not take their medication as they should or allow their medication to run low.

What does the study involve?

This trial recruited 142 General Practices (GPs) across England and Wales. GPs were randomised to either: a) intervention arm (sending out the postal intervention to parents of all their school age children with asthma), or b) usual care (no postal intervention).

The primary objective of the study is to assess whether the intervention reduces the proportion of patients with unscheduled medical contacts in September. The study also includes a cost effectiveness analysis of the intervention.

GPs were recruited by the Clinical Practice Research Datalink (CPRD), who are also collecting and providing the data for the trial. We have collected observational data from around 14,000 children.

When is the study taking place?

Recruitment of general practices started in January 2013 and was completed in July 2013. The intervention was  sent out in July/August 2013, and data was collected in September 2014.

The study was extended to 31 October 2015 to assess whether there was a repeated effect in 2015, and the HTA Report is due to be submitted on 15 November 2015.

Trial Registration

The PLEASANT study is registered with Controlled Clinical Trials: ISRCTN03000938

The PLEASANT study is also registered on the UK Clinical Trials Gateway and the UK Clinical Research Network.


Name & Role Location Email Phone
Dr Steven A Julious, Chief Investigator Medical Statistics Group, ScHARR, University of Sheffield s.a.julious@sheffield.ac.uk (0114) 222 0709
Dr Michelle Horspool, Trial Manager Clinical Trials Research Unit, ScHARR, University of Sheffield m.horspool@sheffield.ac.uk (0114) 222 4303
Dr Cindy Cooper, CTRU Director Clinical Trials Research Unit, ScHARR, University of Sheffield c.l.cooper@sheffield.ac.uk (0114) 222 0743
Dr Henry Smithson, General Practitioner Academic Unit of Primary Medical Care, University of Sheffield henry.smithson@ucc.ie
Dr Jonathan Boote, Lead for Patient & Public Involvement ScHARR, University of Sheffield j.boote@sheffield.ac.uk (0114) 222 0892
Gerry McCann, Business Development & Clinical Trials Manager Clinical Practice Research Datalink, MHRA, London gerard.mccann@mhra.gsi.gov.uk (020) 3080 6019
Ms Sarah Davis, Health Economist Health Economics and Decision Sciences, ScHARR, University of Sheffield s.davis@sheffield.ac.uk (0114) 222 5209
Dr Paul Norman, Health Psychologist Department of Psychology, University of Sheffield p.norman@sheffield.ac.uk (0114) 222 6505
Dr Heather Elphick, Consultant in Paediatric Respiratory Medicine Paediatric Respiratory Medicine, Sheffield Children's Hospital heather.elphick@sch.nhs.uk (0114) 226 0733
Ms Helen Wakefield, Trials Support Officer Clinical Trials Research Unit, ScHARR, University of Sheffield h.wakefield@sheffield.ac.uk (0114) 222 2979
Mr Mike Bradburn, Medical Statistician Clinical Trials Research Unit, ScHARR, University of Sheffield m.bradburn@sheffield.ac.uk (0114) 222 0706
Mr Neil Shephard, Medical Statistician Clinical Trials Research Unit, ScHARR, University of Sheffield n.shephard@sheffield.ac.uk (0114) 222 5203
Dr Amanda Loban, Data Manager Clinical Trials Research Unit, ScHARR, University of Sheffield a.loban@sheffield.ac.uk (0114) 222 2995
Miss Cara Mooney, Research Assistant Clinical Trials Research Unit, ScHARR, University of Sheffield c.d.mooney@sheffield.ac.uk (0114) 222 4308