Background: Studies have suggested that novel inhaling devices may be misused by patients and medical personnel in the clinical setting soon after their introduction. to assess the adequacy of patient handling of a newer multidose dry powder albuterol inhaler, we conducted a comprehensive survey of use in primary and respiratory practices.
Methods: Patients 6 years of age and older and requiring inhaled beta 2-agonist for the treatment of stable obstructive airways disease were recruited from the practices of primary care and specialist physicians. After instruction from their physician or clinic staff in the use of a multidose dry powder albuterol inhalation device (Diskhaler), patients used the device in unblinded fashion for 2 weeks instead of their usual beta 2-agonist. After 2 weeks, patient use of the device was assessed at a return clinic visit.
Results: A total of 4,529 patients with reversible airways obstruction participated in a 2-week assessment of the device and compared it with their previous beta 2-agonist delivery system. Significantly more patients preferred the dry powder device (54 percent) over their previous device (29 percent) (p < 0.001), with 17 percent expressing no preference. After instruction, 98.5 percent of patients could demonstrate adequate use at the initial visit. Performance difficulties at the initial visit resulting in exclusion from the trial were infrequent but more common in the elderly (3 percent vs 0.2 percent for all other age groups combined, p < 0.001). Despite adequate use at the initial visit, at the conclusion of the trial, incorrect use of the device was noted in 10.2 percent of the elderly vs 3.2 percent of all other age groups combined (p < 0.001). Albuterol delivered by Diskhaler was well tolerated in all patient groups.
Conclusions: A majority of patients are able to use a multidose dry powder albuterol inhaler device in the clinical setting, and prefer the device to previously used beta 2-agonist inhalation devices. However, follow-up shows that problems with device handling may become apparent in as little as 2 weeks after initial instruction, thereby mandating the need for periodic follow-up and reinstruction.