The Funhaler (FH) is a novel spacer device (holding chamber) that has been designed to improve adherence and aerosol delivery in young asthmatic children using a metered dose inhaler. A pilot study reported a 38% increase in parent-reported adherence over 2 weeks compared with the child's normal spacer. The aim of this study was to investigate whether the FH would be associated with superior adherence in the medium term (3 months) using an objective assessment. Forty-seven children aged 18 months to 7 years were randomised to a FH or control small volume spacer. Participants were reviewed monthly for 3 months. Adherence was measured using an electronic monitoring device (Smartinhaler). Disease control was based on symptom scores and exacerbation rates. Twenty-six children were randomised to the FH and 21 to the control spacer. Three children withdrew (FH = 2). Median adherence each month for the 3 months was 74%, 54%, and 46% for the FH and 70%, 73%, and 54% for the control spacer. The difference in adherence was not statistically significant (P = 0.47, 0.37, and 0.23, respectively). There was also no significant difference in exacerbation rates or symptom scores. Seven of the FHs broke during the study. The FH was preferred by 21/24 parents randomised to the FH compared with their child's normal spacer. Despite the FH being popular with children and parents its use was not associated with improved adherence or disease control.
2007 Wiley-Liss, Inc.