Survey Finds Reliance on Rescue Inhalers and Vast Misdiagnosis in Asthma Patients

About 89% of respondents used a rescue inhaler and as many as 1 in 3 respondents were misdiagnosed prior to asthma diagnosis.

A recent study finds that patients with asthma rely on rescue inhalers for treatment and often receive an original misdiagnosis.

The study, published in Health Union, found that approximately 89% of asthma patients evaluated used a rescue inhaler. Researchers also found that 1 in 3 people went through a series of tests or were initially misdiagnosed.

Researchers analyzed data from the Asthma in America survey conducted from January 14, 2016 to March 20, 2016 that included 511 asthma patients.

Proper diagnosis and medication is extremely important, according to the study. Once diagnosed, managing triggers and symptoms is also very important. Researchers found that approximately two-thirds of respondents had symptoms at least weekly. Approximately 51% of respondents said that asthma negatively affected overall quality of life.

According to the study, 53% of respondents agreed with the statement: "I am tired more often/fatigue easily.” About 49% of respondents agreed with the statements: "I am unable to do as much as I used to" and "I am afraid of the long-term consequences of asthma.”

"If there is one thing I would like to stress about asthma, it is that its symptoms can be reversible. With a properly prescribed medication regimen, combined with the avoidance and control of one's known triggers, symptoms can be improved dramatically,” said Asthma.net moderator, Leon Lebowitz, RRT.

“My understanding is that most survey respondents were satisfied with their current treatment and that almost half have used it for over 5 years. However, if you find you are relying on your rescue inhaler throughout the day or, it is your 'go to' medication, it would be prudent to see your physician for a revaluation of your current condition and a reassessment of the medications you are using."

Approximately three-quarters of respondents said they were happy with the healthcare provider they see for asthma treatment and were said to be the most valuable for monitoring and treatment suggestions, according to the study.

More than half of respondents said they would have liked more information after diagnosis, but only one-third obtained more information from websites. Researchers conclude that new resources that provide supplementary asthma-related information are needed.