Adherence to nebulised therapies in adolescents with cystic fibrosis is best on week-days during school term-time

J Cyst Fibros. 2013 Sep;12(5):440-4. doi: 10.1016/j.jcf.2012.12.012. Epub 2013 Jan 29.


Objectives: Treatment regimen for families of children with cystic fibrosis (CF) is considerable, particularly when nebulised therapies for chronic Pseudomonas aeruginosa airway infection are prescribed. Adherence to these regimens is variable, particularly in adolescence. Previously, we reported children to be more adherent in evenings compared to mornings, suggesting an association with time-pressure. The aim of this study was to determine whether adherence would be better in adolescent patients at weekends and during school holidays when time-pressures may be less.

Study design: 24 patients (14 male, median [range] age 13.9 [11.1-16.8] years) were enrolled from two regional paediatric CF centres in the United Kingdom. Data for a full scholastic year, were downloaded openly from a breath-activated data logging nebuliser (I-neb™). Adherence (% of doses taken÷expected number) was calculated during term-times, holidays, weekends and weekdays, for each patient.

Results: Large variations in adherence were seen between patients. However, adherence during term-time was significantly better than holidays (p<0.001). Weekday adherence was better than weekend adherence in term-time but not holidays. Interestingly, patients prescribed three daily treatments took on average 1.4 treatments/day, a similar number to those prescribed two daily treatments.

Conclusion: Overall adherence to inhaled therapies was reasonable, but significantly reduced during holiday periods. This suggests a need for families to have not only time, but also structure in their daily routine to maintain optimal adherence to long-term therapies. It is important for CF teams to appreciate these factors when supporting families.

Keywords: Adherence; Adolescence; Cystic fibrosis; Nebuliser.

Publication types

  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Cystic Fibrosis / drug therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Medication Adherence / statistics & numerical data*
  • Nebulizers and Vaporizers
  • Respiratory Therapy / statistics & numerical data*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Schools