Sunday, November 15, 2009

Reality Check: Poor Adherence to Asthma Meds

I think many of my patients or their parents may get offended at office visits with me.  I ask them directly if they have been taking their maintenance meds routinely as directed.  Multiple studies have documented the very low rate of refilling maintenance meds for asthma.  For example, McNally et al in 2009 found "only 31% of prescribed doses of montelukast and 23% of prescribed doses of fluticasone" after one year.  Sabate in 2007 from Australia found 57% of patients were non-adherent to any asthma meds, 72% were non-adherent to controller meds, and the non-adherence rates in adolescents were 70%.  Yet the rate of refilling controller meds has been shown to inversely coorelate with the rate of hospitalizations and rate of deaths from asthma. Up to 45% of the public costs for asthma come from visits to the Emergency Department and hospitalizations.  The moral according to the "Allergy Dude" is: please take your anti-inflammatory asthma medications!

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