Metered Dose Inhalers Prevent COPD Patient Errors

Patients with bronchial asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease fare best with metered dose inhalers that have spacer devices.

Patients with bronchial asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) fare best with metered dose inhalers (MDIs) that have spacer devices, according to research published in the Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research.

For 3 months, researchers from the R. G. Kar Medical College & Hospital in India examined 105 bronchial asthma and COPD patients aged between 18 and 75 years to determine the frequency of proper inhalation device use and how age and training influence it. Among the male subjects, about 40% were current smokers and roughly 35% were former smokers, while no female participants had a smoking habit.

The participants were asked about their inhalation techniques, errors committed in different steps of use, and the nature of medical, paramedical, nursing personnel, and others who imparted training on the use of the device, as well as the time devoted to such training.

The researchers determined that 31 patients used dry powder inhalers (DPIs), 50 used MDIs, and 24 used MDIs with spacer devices. The amount of patients who could correctly use their devices numbered 16.12%, 6%, and 20.8% for DPI, MDI, and MDI with spacer devices, respectively. However, no differences were seen among errors committed with the different devices based on the subjects’ socioeconomic status, educational background, or trainer.

The majority of patients (83.81%) received training from a health care professional, such as a doctor, nurse, pharmacist, paramedical, or representative of a pharmaceutical company. The remaining patients (16.19%) were trained by what the researchers termed “general people,” including family members and neighbors. The average time spent in training was 4.23 minutes for DPI patients, 3.48 minutes for MDI users, and 4.3 minutes for those with MDI plus spacer devices.

“Doctors often did not have sufficient time to train patients regarding proper technique of inhaler use,” the authors concluded. “With ever-increasing and widespread use of inhalers, patient education is becoming more important. Proper training will surely make these drugs more effective and cost-benefit ratio more favorable.”

Any individuals with proper training can effectively demonstrate the proper use of DPIs, MDIs, and MDIs with spacers, the researchers commented. By improving the time spent on instructing patients, correct device use could become more widespread.