The 2014 British Thoracic Society (BTS) and Scottish Intercollegiate Guideline Network (SIGN) guidelines recommend a stepwise approach to asthma management. We investigated the management of asthma in primary care in the UK to understand how real-world practice compares with BTS/SIGN guidelines. Asthma patients were identified from the UK Clinical Practice Research Datalink from September 2006 to August 2016. Aims were to classify patients according to BTS/SIGN steps, describe the proportion of patients transitioning between steps and describe patient demographics and clinical characteristics per group. Overall, 647,308 patients with asthma were identified (40,096 aged 5-11 years; 607,212 aged 12-80 years). Most treated patients were in step 1 or 2 (88.3% of children/67.5% of adults in December 2007; 83.0% of children/67.0% of adults in June 2016). Most patients remained within their treatment step within a 6-month interval (>78% of children and adults throughout the study duration). The proportion of patients stepping up and down reduced from the beginning of the study, although stepping down to step 1 was relatively common in both adults and children. Few patients had a recorded asthma review in the year before reference date (18.8% of children and 14.8% of adults). Although prescribing patterns meant that most patients remained within their treatment step throughout the study, we cannot be sure that this was because their disease was truly stable. The small proportion of patients stepping up/down and the lack of recorded asthma review suggest that patients may not be treated in accordance with BTS/SIGN guidelines.