Kids Miss Asthma Doses

APRIL 01, 2005

A study of adherence to long-term, daily medication and use of as-needed asthma drugs found that children oftentimes miss scheduled doses. The researchers of a second study attributed the reason to families having difficulty incorporating daily medication into their routines. Both studies were reported in the Journal of Pediatrics (February 2005).

The first study included 75 children with persistent asthma. The results of the study found that after a month there were high levels of nonadherence. For example, only about 45% of the doses were taken. The study also found that compliance was worse in older children, compared with younger children. In terms of reliance on as-needed medications, the numbers varied, from no inhaler puffs to 18 puffs daily. The use of inhalers was not connected with adherence to daily medications or with illness the previous year.

In the second study, the researchers focused on how families can structure their routines to improve medication compliance. For the study, 133 families with children with asthma were given a questionnaire. The results were matched with medication adherence and response to standard questionnaires on medication compliance, asthma severity, and quality of life. The researchers learned that the continuation of normal routines around medication use was connected with improved adherence to medications, according to researcher Barbara H. Fiese, PhD.

"For some families, maintaining regular routines is not a big deal,"so they are able to easily incorporate daily medications into their schedules, noted Dr. Fiese. On the other hand, there is a view that it is another area that requires attention. "Those families,"she added, "may need additional support in learning how to fold medication use into their daily life so that it reduces strain and burden rather than increasing it."