Even if Medicine is Free, Many Asthmatics Aren't Compliant

Underuse of asthma medication common among school-age children

THURSDAY, Nov. 3 (HealthDay News) -- Few children with asthma take their inhaled corticosteroids as prescribed, even when they are free of cost, according to a study of inner-city children presented at CHEST 2005, the annual meeting of the American College of Chest Physicians in Montreal, Canada.

Lynn B. Gerald, Ph.D., of the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and colleagues collaborated with inner-city school districts to examine 296 children aged 6 to 13 with persistent asthma. Medication was provided at no charge to participants. To get their free refills, the patients' parents were instructed to call the study coordinator and ask for it to be mailed to them.

Of 213 children due for refills, 148 (69%) did not refill their medication, 36 (17%) refilled at the expected rate, and 29 (14%) refilled more slowly than expected. About 92% of the children were black, but refill rates did not differ by ethnicity, age or gender, the authors found.

Even when common barriers are removed, "refill rates are much lower than expected," the authors write.


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