Adherence to treatment: assessment of an unmet need in asthma

J Investig Allergol Clin Immunol. 2006;16(4):218-23.


Background: In asthma, as in other chronic conditions, poor adherence to treatment and to medical advice is common and contributes to substantial worsening of the disease and increased health care costs.

Objective: The aim of the present study was to evaluate patients' self-reported adherence to asthma medication regimens and to identify possible correlations between treatment adherence and depression, anxiety, and coping strategies.

Methods: Sixty-three asthmatic outpatients (27 men and 36 women; mean age +/- SD, 38.5 +/- 14.1) were consecutively enrolled during their routine control visit. Patients were asked to complete 3 different questionnaires: the Adherence Schedule in Asthma, the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale, and the Coping Orientations to Problem Experienced questionnaires.

Results: Depression was detected in 32.3% of patients and anxiety in 34.9%. A negative correlation was found between older age and perception of family support (rho = -0.33). The presence of anxiety displayed a positive correlation with difficulty in accepting the illness (rho = 0.33) and a negative correlation with acceptance of illness limitations (p = -0.30); it was also positively correlated with fear of the side effects of medication (rho = 0.37). The presence of depression was negatively correlated with acceptance of illness limitations (rho = -0.32), knowledge of the illness (p = -0.29), and with ability to identify worsening signs (rho = -0.31).

Conclusion: This study shows how different factors may modulate adherence to asthma treatment. The opportunity to identify reasons for nonadherence through a simple assessment will allow a tailored intervention to be planned for each patient.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Adult
  • Anti-Asthmatic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Anxiety / complications
  • Asthma / complications
  • Asthma / drug therapy*
  • Asthma / psychology*
  • Depression / complications
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Italy
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Compliance / psychology*
  • Self-Assessment
  • Surveys and Questionnaires


  • Anti-Asthmatic Agents