Compliance with inhaled Medication and Self-treatment Guidelines following a Self-management Programme in Adult Asthmatics

J. van der Palen, Jacobus Adrianus Maria van der Palen, J.J. Klein, J.J. Klein, M.M. Rovers

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Two of the principal components of self-management are compliance with medication and adherence to self-treatment guidelines. The aim of this study was to evaluate compliance objectively. Twenty two adult asthmatics attended a self-management programme. During a 2 week run-in period, compliance with inhaled steroids and peak expiratory flow (PEF) were electronically-registered. For PEF this resulted in a personal best value (PBV). Subsequently, patients attended four educational group sessions. During the four weeks of follow-up, patients were instructed to measure their PEF on a fixed day of the week and when they experienced an increase in symptoms. If PEF fell below 80% of PBV, patients had to double their use of inhaled steroids; if PEF fell below 60%, they had to start a short course of oral steroids. During run-in, mean compliance was 83% and compliance per patient varied from 6 to 106%. During follow-up, on days without exacerbation, compliance with inhaled steroids increased by 12% (95% confidence interval (95% CI) 3-21%) compared to run-in, ranging 21-200%. On days when patients should have doubled their inhaled steroids, compliance decreased by 28% (95% CI -39 to -17), and compliance ranged 46-94%. Of the 10 patients who should have doubled their medication, only three did so, whilst four increased the use of inhaled steroids but only by one or two puffs; three patients did not alter their behaviour. In five patients (24%) PEF fell below 60% of their PBV, after which four started prednisolone (self-report). In conclusion, even after a formal self-management programme, patients with asthma comply only partially to self-treatment guidelines. Most are willing to increase, but not double, their inhaled steroids. This suggests that more emphasis is needed to reassure patients about the safety of inhaled steroids.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)652-657
Number of pages6
JournalEuropean respiratory journal
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1997


  • METIS-100114
  • IR-102172


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