Patients pick preferred inhaler

Managing severe asthma

New research has shown that ease of use amongst inhalers for lung conditions varies widely, and identifies one that is both patients’ preferred choice and the least likely to be used incorrectly.

Inhalers are key to managing lung conditions like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and asthma, but do need proper use to be effective.

A new study by researchers at the NIHR Southampton Respiratory Biomedical Research Unit, published in the journal Primary Care Respiratory Medicine, found wide variation in ease-of-use for six inhalers used to deliver COPD and asthma medication.

The work found that the ELLIPTA inhaler was both the participant’s preferred choice and the one they were least likely to use incorrectly.

Using the inhalers effectively

Incorrectly used, inhalers can deliver the wrong dose, increasing the risk of symptoms worsening.

According to some estimates,  less than 60% of asthma patients use their inhalers correctly, and between a third and half of all COPD patients make mistakes using their inhaler that prevent it from working effectively.

In this latest research 567 patients with COPD and 162 patients with asthma attended a single visit, where they were asked to use one of six inhalers according to their instructions, under the supervision of a trained nurse.

The participants made fewest mistakes and required the least assistance when they used the ELLIPTA inhaler, as assessed by the nurse, who used a set checklist of possible errors for each device.  

These results show that patient information sheets are not sufficient for the correct use of most inhalers, and face-to-face training for patients is extremely important to resolve any issues.

Considering patients’ preferences

Patients who are comfortable using their inhaler are likely to use it more effectively, so their preference could affect their use and effectiveness of their medication.

Both for asthma and COPD patients, the ELLIPTA inhaler was not only the one they made least mistakes using, but also their preferred choice compared to the other five inhalers.

Taken together the results suggest the ELLIPTA inhaler could be the most effective inhaler for healthcare professionals to provide to patients, and that patient’s comfort and understanding is critical to proper use.  

Posted on Tuesday 13 December 2016