Study objectives: To evaluate whether direct feedback discussion on inhaled steroid use might influence subsequent adherence with this therapy.
Design and setting: A 10-week, single-blind, randomized trial in asthma patients. Inclusion criteria included forced expiratory volume in 1 second <80%, one or more markers for low socioeconomic status, and the use of inhaled steroids. Inhaled steroid and beta-agonist use were electronically monitored. All patients received standard asthma care. The treatment group received direct clinician-to-patient feedback discussion on their inhaled steroid and beta-agonist use on all subsequent visits, whereas this information was withheld during the study period in the control group.
Measures: 1) Mean weekly inhaled steroid adherence [(number of actuations/prescribed number of actuations) x 100]; 2) number of days with overuse of inhaled steroids; 3) 24-hour and nighttime albuterol use; 4) included forced expiratory volume in 1 second; and 5) Asthma Quality of Life Questionnaire total score.
Results: Ten treatment and nine control patients completed the study. Mean weekly inhaled steroid adherence over the first week was not significantly different in the treatment and control groups: 61 +/- 9% versus 51 +/- 5%, respectively. However, by the second week, adherence increased to 81 +/- 7% in the treatment group, whereas it decreased to 47 +/- 7% in the control group (P = 0.003). Adherence remained above 70% in the treatment group for the entire trial, but continued to decrease in the control group. Overuse of inhaled steroids was low in both groups. There were no group differences in any of the asthma outcomes.
Conclusions: Direct clinician-to-patient feedback discussion on inhaled steroid use using electronic printouts did improve adherence in the short-term in asthma patients at high-risk for poor adherence.