Purpose of review: To discuss the unique challenges of managing asthma in young children and to review the literature over the past year with regard to regimen adherence in this relatively understudied population.
Recent findings: Young children and their families face unique challenges in dealing with asthma and these have the potential to affect regimen adherence. They include the time and effort required by asthma-management activities (e.g. nebulizer use), dependency on parents for asthma care, and the limited ability of children to communicate about their symptoms. Five published studies were found for the past year. They covered three areas: adherence assessment (e.g. electronic monitoring versus diary cards), device impact on adherence (e.g. influence of the novelty of medication-delivery device), and adherence interventions (e.g. parental education regarding symptoms).
Summary: Research suggests that several components need to be considered when designing interventions to improve adherence for young children with asthma: to consider the strain in the caregiver role when developing the treatment regimen, to provide devices that parents and children can use, to monitor adherence with electronic monitoring, and to address parents' concerns and perceptions about treating prodromal symptoms of an asthma exacerbation. Because many parents are hesitant to treat cough symptoms, an additional training component may need to be added to address this concern.