Asthma Medication Miss-Taken by Kids

Asthmatic children may have issues at home limiting medication adherence

(RxWiki News) Your kid may be armed with all the tools to treat his or her asthma, but may still have trouble breathing. What's not working?

Parental problems and hectic environments at home could be preventing children from taking their asthma medication, a study presented at a conference has found.

These researchers found that those children with the lowest adherence rates failed to follow the treatment plan in its entirety, although all of the children said they intended to do so.

"Help your children take their medications properly."

Though the study is small and the results still need to be reviewed, researchers from the Netherlands have shown that children's asthma symptoms could get worse because of issues at home.

The study, led by Paul Brand, MD, a pediatrician and asthma and allergy specialist, recorded and analyzed a range of possible reasons why children between 2- to 13-years-old may not be taking their medication correctly.

"It is crucial that healthcare professionals treating children with asthma carefully assess what these potential barriers could be so that appropriate interventions can be put in place to help correct the problems," Dr. Brand said.

Researchers measured how well children took their inhaled corticosteroids to control their asthma over the course of a year.

They were given comprehensive care and strict follow-up in the researchers' asthma clinic.

After completing the study, researchers interviewed the parents of 20 children with the lowest and highest adherence rates and compared the interviews with electronic monitoring rates.

Financial problems, chaotic family life, parenting problems and parents being too busy to remember were reasons parents gave for their child not following the treatment plan, particularly among those with lower education levels.

Another problem researchers found is that a number of children between 8- and 12-years-old were given full responsibility for taking their own medication without parental support.

A group of the more educated parents deliberately did not use the inhalers as the doctors had instructed them to.

Instead, they adjusted the dose based on what they saw fit for their children, which led to regular but lower dosage of the inhaler than what was prescribed.

The study was presented September 3 at the European Respiratory Society's Annual Congress in Vienna, Austria. 

Review Date: 
September 23, 2012