Improving Asthma Adherence

A new study, published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, shows that patients who are more confident about the benefits of their asthma controller therapies tend to report higher levels of adherence.

The Trial of Asthma Patient Education (TAPE) study examined the effect of an educational program aimed at increasing expectations of treatment benefit on medication adherence.

Patients with sub-optimally controlled asthma were randomized to either placebo or the active drug – montelukast (Singulair) in conjunction with an interactive computer-based multimedia educational presentation that was either neutral or designed to increase outcome expectancy.

The enhanced presentation was specifically designed to increase the expectation that the drug would adequately control asthma symptoms, while the neutral presentation included information on asthma care and management but without active promotion of the benefits of medication. The presentations were shown before the study drugs were dispensed, and again 2 weeks into the study.

Adherence was monitored electronically over 4 weeks and was defined as ≥80% use of prescribed doses. Medication adherence was measured electronically using devices fitted onto the medication bottles to record the date and time of each bottle opening.

Outcome expectancy, peak expiratory flow, prebronchodilator FEV1, asthma control (Juniper asthma control questionnaire), and asthma-related quality of life were assessed at baseline and at the 4-week follow-up.

Results showed that the enhanced presentation mode was associated with improved adherence to active drug. Additionally, when a patient expected a higher benefit from treatment, their breathing test scores improved and self-reported asthma control scores tended to be higher. There was also an accompanying trend for improvement in asthma-specific quality of life.

These results suggest that the manner in which medications are introduced to patients may not only affect their expectations about the potential benefits of the therapy, but may also impact their level of adherence and sense of improved health. The authors dubbed this The Madison Avenue effect.

This study further supports the results of work undertaken by SRxA’s Health Outcomes Advisors:  Dr. Allan Luskin and Dr. Don Bukstein.  Together with SRxA, Drs Luskin and Bukstein, both world authorities on Health Outcomes, have developed fully integrated Practice Management programs to improve medication adherence and patient outcomes. These programs can be customized for almost any drug or treatment modality.  Pharmaceutical companies wanting to know more about these guaranteed result programs should contact us today.

You Can Control Your Asthma

To mark World Asthma Day, SRxA’s Word on Health spoke exclusively to four of the world’s leading asthma specialists.

In keeping with the “You Can Control Your Asthma” theme of World Asthma Day 2010, we asked these Top Docs to share their #1 piece of advice for people with asthma.

Allan Luskin MD, Chair of the National Asthma Education and Prevention Program is adamant “Asthma can be controlled -accept nothing less.”

The Madison, WI allergist and immunologist continued “Better isn’t good enough.  Patients should try for “normal’ and for many people that’s achievable.  Normal means they sleep through the night, wake up with a clear chest in the morning, hardly ever need a rescue inhaler, are fully active including whatever exercise they want to do, and are able to get a cold without needing an urgent visit to the office or ER and using medication with no significant side effects.”

Bill Storms MD, Clinical Professor at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center and Director of the Research Center at the William Storms Allergy Clinic in Colorado Springs, CO says succinctly “Take your meds on a preventative basis, not as needed.”

World Asthma Day is organized by the Global Initiative for Asthma (GINA) in collaboration with health care groups and asthma educators to raise awareness about asthma and improve asthma care throughout the world.  The first World Asthma Day, in 1998, was celebrated in more than 35 countries. Participation has increased with each World Asthma Day held since then, and the day has become one of the world’s most important asthma awareness and education events.

Michael Kaliner MD, Founder and Director of the Institute for Asthma and Allergy, Wheaton, MD advises, “Most asthma is due to allergies. Having an allergy assessment by a certified allergist can lead to advice about allergy avoidance and consideration for allergy injection therapy. Allergy injections are the only treatment of any kind that can reduce asthma at its root cause.”

Brad Chipps MD, Director of the Capital Allergy and Respiratory Disease Center, Sacramento, CA adds “The most important advice to maintain asthma control is a thorough understanding of what constitutes good asthma control both in impairment (day to day symptoms) and risk (exacerbations) domains. This should be integral of the treatment plan provided to each patient.”

Four excellent pieces of advice, from four outstanding clinicians.

To learn more about how SRxA can help you to educate patients, physicians or allied health professionals on asthma control and management contact us today.