Asthma patients' self-reported behaviours toward inhaled corticosteroids

Respir Med. 2009 Sep;103(9):1366-75. doi: 10.1016/j.rmed.2009.03.010. Epub 2009 Apr 24.


Background: Patient adherence to recommended use of ICS is questionable in asthma, with irregular use or interruptions occurring frequently. Factors explaining discontinuation of controller therapy could orientate interventions. The characteristics of patients with interruptions of inhaled corticosteroids (ICSs), intentional or accidental, were investigated.

Methods: Asthma patients regularly prescribed ICS by GPs (Cegedim network) were included. Patients' characteristics and behaviours toward ICS (accidental/intentional interruptions, less frequent use of ICS and change in dosing) were identified from self-report questionnaires, and linked to data prescription database. Interrelations between declared behaviours toward ICS were studied with a Multiple Component Analysis (MCA) and the correlates of ICS interruptions were identified.

Results: During the past 3 months, 31.6% of 204 patients (mean age: 53.8 years, females: 59.3%) intentionally interrupted ICS when feeling better, 25.4% forgot ICS and 18.3% deliberately changed the doses. A quarter of patients considered constant use of respiratory medicines as unhealthy. MCA revealed that intentional, accidental interruptions and less frequent use of ICS were closely correlated. Risk of intentional interruption was increased when patients considered constant use of respiratory therapy to be unhealthy (OR=3.36, 95%CI=[1.47-7.66]). Conversely, risk was significantly lower when ICS was associated or combined with another controller (OR=0.24, 95%CI=[0.08-0.73]), compared to ICS in monotherapy. Less frequent interruptions were observed in patients older than 65 (OR=0.35, 95%CI=[0.13-0.89]).

Conclusions: Our study suggests that discontinuation of use of controllers is associated with other inadequate behaviours or beliefs about inhaled controllers. Efforts should be targeted at patients' perceptions and behaviours toward controller therapy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Inhalation
  • Adolescent
  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones / administration & dosage*
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Anti-Asthmatic Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Asthma / drug therapy
  • Asthma / psychology*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Health Behavior
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Medication Adherence / psychology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Truth Disclosure
  • Young Adult


  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones
  • Anti-Asthmatic Agents