RATIONAL AND AIMS: Inhaled therapy is the mainstay of treatment in patients with asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). For effectiveness of pharmacotherapy, correct use of medication is required. The aims of this study were to survey the quality of inhalation technique in patients and to determine the effect of a single intervention in community pharmacies by means of standardized procedures.
Methods: A total of 757 patients with asthma or COPD were randomly selected by 55 community pharmacies. At baseline, patients were interviewed and their inhalation technique was assessed with a 21-items checklist. Any error was recorded and, if necessary, patients were instructed in the proper use of their device. After 4-6 weeks, demonstration of inhalation technique was repeated in the community pharmacies and a pre-post comparison was performed.
Results: A total of 597 patients (78.9%) made at least one mistake in performing the inhalation technique at baseline. This number dropped to 214 (28.3%) from the first to the second appointment. All patients did benefit from the pharmacists' intervention regardless of their former training experiences.
Conclusions: Inhalation technique of asthma and COPD patients is poor. In daily practice, community pharmacy-based pharmacists are well suited to significantly supplement doctor-based education in inhalation technique.
© 2010 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.