Background: Parental attitudes towards the use of inhaled therapy in children with chronic asthma influence treatment adherence and outcome. In the present study, we evaluated the perceptions and concerns of parents of children with chronic asthma towards inhaled therapy.
Methods: A self-administered standard questionnaire was distributed to parents of children attending the Paediatric Asthma Clinic. All these children required inhaled steroids for treatment.
Results: One-hundred and twelve of 170 parents (66%) surveyed were concerned with inhaled therapy. The most common concern with its use was medication side effects (91%), followed by 'inhaler dependency' (86%), cost of the inhaler (34%) and difficulty in using the inhaler (15%). Parental perception that the oral route was superior to the inhaled route, preference for the oral route for asthma prophylaxis and a higher steroid dose required for prophylaxis were more likely to be associated with concerns towards inhaled therapy. More importantly, these children were also more likely to miss > 25% of their prescribed doses of inhaled steroids (46 vs 22% in the group concerned about inhaled therapy compared with the group that was not concerned, respectively; P = 0.007) and had a higher mean number of nebulization treatments in the last year (3.2 +/- 2.9 vs 1.8 +/- 1.3 in the group concerned about inhaled therapy compared with the group that was not concerned, respectively; P = 0.01).
Conclusions: A significant proportion of parents whose children were on inhaled prophylaxis had concerns towards the use of inhaled therapy. Parental concern towards inhaled therapy appeared to increase the problem of non-adherence to treatment. Education for these parents will need to be addressed to improve asthma management in our patient population.