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Single combined asthma inhaler improves adherence

By Lilian Anekwe

Offering asthma patients a single inhaler for symptom relief and treatment maintenance may improve adherence for, a new general practice study suggests.

Using a single inhaler, containing a long-acting beta-agonist and a corticosteroid, could overcome the common problem of poor patient adherence with inhaled corticosteroids.

It would also improve the management of patients with asthma, by simplifying what can be seen as a complicated treatment regime, researchers claim.

71 patients recruited from 44 general practices in Nottinghamshire were randomised to treatment with either one puff daily of budesonide/formoterol 200/6µg for six months, or the same dose of budesonide plus their own short-acting beta-agonist as a control.

After six months, patients treated with a single inhaler had used approximately 80% more budesonide than those in the control group, who only used 60% of the prescribed dose.

Taken dosage consumption as a measure of patient adherence, lead researcher Dr Milin Sovani, a research fellow in respiratory medicine at the Queens Medical Centre in Nottingham, concluded in the January issue of the British Journal of General Practice, that:

'Providing a single inhaler containing budesonide and formoterol for both maintenance and symptom relief almost doubled the dose of budesonide taken. This suggests this could be a useful strategy to overcome the problem of poor adherence with inhaled corticosteroids.'

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