Asthma hospital admissions could be prevented with correct inhaler usage
28th November 2013
asthmaAsthma is a serious, yet sometimes underestimated health problem. Just imagine you are unable to breathe, unable to cry for help, unable to even speak, and paralysed with fear. This is an accurate description of how an asthma attack feels for the majority of the 5.4 million people in the UK who suffer with asthma. It is believed that around 75% of asthma-related hospital admissions could have been averted through sufficient asthma management and a staggering 90% of deaths from asthma were preventable. Part of this is through the actual correct/efficient use of asthma medication. According to a pharmaceutical-educational charity partnership, improved inhaler technique may help to drastically reduce the estimated 80,000 plus emergency hospital admissions for asthma, but healthcare professionals should be partly culpable as many are not carrying out proper training to patients for correct inhaler use. A new study of healthcare professionals published in Thorax suggests that a shocking 70% could not demonstrate the right metered dose inhaler technique to asthma patients, and around half of the patients themselves were unable to use the correct technique with their inhaler. It might be alarming to know that poor use of an inhaler can result it as little as 5% of the drug being transmitted to where it is urgently required – the lungs. Therefore, symptoms are not controlled and the risk of an emergency hospital admission suddenly increases a significant amount. The good news is that Napp Pharmaceuticals have joined forces with the charity Education for Health to provide inhaler technique training to any CCGs and NHS providers looking to boost their respiratory services and undoubtedly cut asthma hospital admissions in the process. Community pharmacists from Cambridgeshire and Peterborough CCG and Pharmicus in Gateshead will be involved with pilot programmes after the success of a similar inhaler technique programmed on the Isle of Wight, whereby trained multidisciplinary teams including GPs and respiratory nurses, led to a 50% drop in asthma emergency admissions and a 75% decrease in associated deaths. Monica Fletcher, CEO of Education for Health said: “This training will enable healthcare professionals to provide the most accurate and up to date inhaler technique to their patients. There is no reason why, with the correct treatment and management, that the majority of people with asthma shouldn’t be able to live symptom free.” Dr Joe diCapite, inhaler technique project manager at Napp said “We know that several CCGs recognise inhaler technique as an issue for their patients. Napp and Education for Health want to work in partnership with CCGs to create inhaler technique programmes that address the specific training needs of their healthcare professionals, with a shared aim of delivering better patient outcomes.” If you have asthma and would like more information on using your inhalers, Asthma UK have provided helpful videos on how to correctly different asthma inhalers such as metered dose inhalers, easi-breathe inhalers, an autohaler and various other types of inhalers.