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20-07-2010 | Respiratory | Article

Parental knowledge of asthma controller medication ‘inadequate’


Free abstract

MedWire News: Many parents of children suffering from asthma exacerbations who present to pediatric emergency departments (PEDs) do not understand the importance of daily inhaled corticosteroid (ICS) treatment, say researchers.

The findings, published in the Journal of Asthma, suggest that many parents of asthmatic children would benefit from educational interventions that emphasize the importance of controller medications for persistent asthma.

Jamie Deis (Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center, Winston-Salem, North Carolina, USA) and team surveyed 229 parents of children aged 2-18 years who attended two urban PEDs in southeast and northwest USA.

Overall, 66% of the children had persistent asthma according to National Institutes of Health criteria, yet just 51% of these children received daily treatment with ICS. Furthermore, just 32% of children had received an asthma plan and only 52% had received the influenza vaccine in the past year.

Parental education level beyond high school was significantly associated with an increased likelihood of daily ICS use among the children, at an odds ratio (OR) of 2.81 compared with lower levels of parental education.

Furthermore, non-African Americans were more likely to have received an action plan than African Americans, at an OR of 2.18.

The researchers also found that parents' confidence in their ability to provide care during an asthma exacerbation was significantly associated with receipt of an action plan.

Of note, 24% of parents surveyed said they did not know how ICS treatment worked, and 29% believed that it "immediately opens the airway."

Deis and team conclude: "Parents of children with persistent asthma presenting to urban tertiary care PEDs with asthma exacerbations frequently have inadequate understanding of appropriate ICS use."

They suggest: "Parents with less than a high school education, in particular, may benefit from focused educational interventions that address the importance of daily ICS use in asthma control."

MedWire ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Current Medicine Group, a trading division of Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2010

By Mark Cowen

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