Study finds nearly one-third of COPD and asthma patients misuse inhalers

CHICAGO A study presented at CHEST 2007, the 73rd annual international scientific assembly of the American College of Chest Physicians showed that 32.1 percent of patients with asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease made at least one error while using a dry powder inhaler.

“The frequent misuse of dry powder inhalers can lead to the inappropriate dosage of medication, which can result in increased morbidity and mortality for patients,” said study author Siegfried Wieshammer of Klinikum Offenburg in Offenburg, Germany. “Our results suggest that inhaler type, age, severity of lung obstruction and prior training can determine the risk of inhalation errors. These factors should be considered before prescribing an inhaler for a patient.”

In patients that had not received instruction on how to use the inhaler, the error rate was 52.6 percent compared to 23.1 percent of people who were trained. Patients who were at least 60-years-old have an error rate of 41.6 percent, while people under 60 only had an error rate of 20 percent.

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