Teaching kids asthma medication compliance
Creatively reaching children with asthma about how to manage their therapy can be key to controlling their disease.
Poor compliance to asthma medication is a major contributor to children’s asthma morbidity.1-3
The evidence suggests poor compliance can lead to a lack of asthma control. Large studies indicate that patients on oral steroids who land in the emergency department (ED) because of asthma symptoms suffer from a lack of compliance with daily controller medications.4
“I really believe we live in a time [when] if the correct medications are used appropriately, most kids will be able to stay out of the hospital for asthma exacerbations,” says pediatric allergist Alex Thomas, MD, clinical instructor in pediatrics at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, Madison. “Oftentimes, when there are kids who are having these exacerbations, it can be related to either a lack of access to the appropriate medications, or, in a lot of cases, a lack of education about the use of the medications, which can lead to poor compliance with the medications.”
Thomas says studies back up his thinking. There’s a lot of evidence, he says, suggesting patients get confused about which medications they should be taking, and when.4
He remembers talking with asthma patients’ families about why their children ended up in the hospital. They’d often say things such as: “We were only taking albuterol.” Or, “We thought the albuterol was the one we had to take every day, and the inhaled steroid was just for emergencies.”