asthma, inhalers, patient education


Objectives: To 1) assess inhaler technique in patients with asthma who present to a community pharmacy and 2) determine if patients find it desirable to have further inhaler education from pharmacists.

Methods: Participants were recruited when picking up their inhalers at either one chain or one independent pharmacy from May 2012 to December 2012. Any person 18 years of age or older, diagnosed with asthma, and currently prescribed an inhaler was eligible for inclusion in the study. Those who voluntarily agreed to participate were provided a written survey to evaluate current inhaler usage and past education from pharmacists. Participants were then asked to demonstrate how they currently operate their inhalers and observations regarding technique were recorded. Participants were then educated on what improvements could be made in their technique, if applicable.

Results: A total of 31 surveys were completed for this study, of which only 3(9.6%) of the respondents were observed to be using their inhalers properly; however 18(58%) rated their technique as a 5 out of 5 on a Likert scale with 5 being the best. Almost all respondents (96.7%) classified their inhalers as "easy" or "very easy" to use, and 13 (41.9%) would prefer more education from pharmacists regarding their inhalers.

Conclusion: The results of this study identified a significant need for patients to be educated on proper inhaler technique. It also revealed a high patient preference for pharmacists to offer additional education to patients using asthma inhalers upon initiation of inhaler therapy and with inhaler refills.