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24-11-2014 | Respiratory | Article

Low asthma medication adherence predictors identified in adolescents


Free abstract

medwireNews: Inhaled corticosteroid (ICS) adherence among adolescents with asthma is low and is associated with a lack of knowledge about treatment and patients’ perceptions about their medicines, show findings of a study published in the Journal of Asthma.

“Our results suggest that by improving knowledge about asthma treatments and stimulating positive perceptions towards medicines, especially regarding the necessity of medication use, better adherence rates might be achieved,” say Ellen Koster (Utrecht University, the Netherlands) and colleagues.

For the study, the researchers analysed online survey data from 182 adolescent ICS users, aged between 12 and 18 years. The survey contained questions on asthma control, self-reported adherence, medication beliefs and medication knowledge.

Self-reported ICS adherence, which was assessed using the five-item Medication Adherence Report Scale, was relatively low among the survey population, at just 40.9%.

The main reasons for lack of adherence were forgetting to take their medication (56.1%) and only using medication when experiencing symptoms (41.1%).

A significant association was observed between ICS adherence and currently well-controlled asthma, which the researchers say “underlines the need [for] good adherence to reach and maintain sufficient disease control.”

Interestingly, 41.9% of patients expressed the belief that ICS treatment was necessary to control their disease, and 10.1% conveyed a high level of concern regarding the potential adverse effects.

The researchers suggest this could be related to poor knowledge about the disease, and recommend that“[f]uture research in the area of interventions aimed at improving adolescent adherence behavior should focus on development of educational material in which improving knowledge regarding medication and disease as well as stimulating positive perceptions (e.g. behavioral interventions) should be [a] key factor.”

They continue: “These behavioral interventions should especially focus on the necessity of drug therapy, since low necessity scores were more strongly associated with non-adherence.”

The team concludes that special attention should be paid to reminding services to support adherence to a medication regimen, as adolescents mentioned forgetting to take medication as an important reason for not using their medication as prescribed.

medwireNews ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2014

By Nikki Withers, medwireNews Reporter

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