Muslims' Asthma Med Usage Declines During Ramadan

Turkish researchers urge physicians to emphasize the importance of regular medication adherence

FRIDAY, Sept. 29 (HealthDay News) -- During Ramadan, most Muslim patients with asthma adjust medication usage to conform with religious fasting rules, according to the results of a study published in the September issue of the Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.

Ferda Oner Erkekol, M.D., of Ankara University in Ankara, Turkey, and colleagues asked 121 Islamic Turkish asthmatics about their opinions and practices concerning medication use during fasting. Their sources of knowledge regarding asthma, fasting and medication use were also evaluated.

The researchers found that 96 percent of patients believed that inhaled medication could be used during Ramadan, but that only 13 percent continued to use such medications in their usual manner while fasting. Although they found that 90 percent of fasting patients saw no harm with respect to religion in visiting physicians while fasting, they also found that such patients had similar rates in receiving information about medication usage while fasting from physicians and religious sources (37 percent and 32 percent, respectively).

"Although the effect of this rearrangement on asthma control is unknown, keep in mind that regular medication use is one of the cornerstones of asthma management," the authors conclude. "Therefore, individual conditions, such as fasting, should be questioned, patients should be followed up carefully for the relationship between fasting and asthma control, and the importance of regular use of medications should be emphasized in regular visits."

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