What's the Best Way to Get Students to Take Their Asthma Medication?

Study examines how a school nursing intervention helped reduce missed school days.

Involving school nurses in the administration of inhaled corticosteroids (ICS) may help reduce missed school days due to asthma flare-ups, according to a study published online in the Journal of Asthma.

Stephen J. Teach, MD, MPH, chair of the Department of Pediatrics at Children's National Health System, and colleagues recruited 46 Washington, D.C.-area children in grades kindergarten through 8 to participate in the study, who were split into an intervention group, meaning they got their ICS in the morning from a school nurse, and a control group, who remained on their prescribed morning and evening doses at home.

Although both groups had about a 90% reciept of ICS rate, the intervention group missed about 20% less school days during the 40-day trial, 24% vs. 44%. The intervention group also reported fewer functional limitations, less asthma-related sleep loss, and less asthma-related adjustments to their family life.

The researchers noted that following the study, they have since started to prescribe school-based administration of morning ICS doses to families interested in receiving them as a new standard of care.


Harrington CB, Langhans E, Shelef DQ, Savitz M, Whitmore C, each SJ. A pilot randomized trial of school-based administration of inhaled corticosteroids for at-risk children with asthma. J Asthma. 2017; 1 DOI: 10.1080/02770903.2017.1323915

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