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Better Communication May Help Asthma Compliance

Many physicians unaware that patients find possible side effects unexpected

THURSDAY, May 25 (HealthDay News) -- Many asthma patients eventually stop taking their medication or skip doses during treatment, according to the results of large international survey on asthma management presented at the American Thoracic Society International Conference in San Diego.

Michael Kaliner, M.D., of the Institute for Asthma and Allergy in Chevy Chase, Md., and colleagues examined the results of the Global Asthma Physician and Patient (GAPP) survey, which included nearly 3,500 adults in 16 countries.

About one-half of asthma patients said they never or rarely discussed side effects with their physician and nearly one in five said they were unaware of short-term side effects of medication, such as dryness in the throat, coughing or hoarseness. However, only 5 percent of physicians who prescribe treatments associated with these side effects believed that patients were unaware of the possible adverse effects.

"There are contradictions in physician and patient responses on issues that affect treatment outcomes. The discrepancy highlights the lack of optimal patient-physician communication and patient understanding about asthma and treatment side effects," the authors write. "Better patient-physician communications may improve treatment outcomes."

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