In children hospitalized for asthma, improper inhaler use, which means they routinely were not taking in the full dose of medication.
Adolescents most commonly displayed critical errors in inhaler technique. They also often skipped using a spacer, which is a device that is recommended for use with an inhaler to help the right amount of asthma medication reach the lungs. Findings were published in the Journal of Hospital Medicine.
"We know that asthma can be well managed in the majority of patients and using your inhaler correctly is key factor to managing asthma," says lead author Waheeda Samady, MD, hospitalist at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago, and Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. "Our study suggests that as healthcare providers we can do a better job showing patients and families the correct inhaler and spacer technique, and checking it frequently to ensure they master it."
"We see that our adolescent patients, who are transitioning to independent medication management, still need close monitoring to make sure they use their inhaler and spacer appropriately to achieve optimal asthma control," says Dr. Samady. "Teens may feel that using a spacer is only for younger children, but using a spacer is recommended for adults as well."
Previous studies have shown that adding a spacer device to an inhaler increases the amount of asthma medication a person takes in from 34 percent to 83 percent.
"Children with asthma can lead full lives if they receive the right medication at the appropriate dose, which is why correct inhaler technique is so crucial," says Dr. Samady.