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Steroid Adherence in Difficult Asthma Cases Examined

Study finds a significant proportion of patients are non-adherent to corticosteroid therapy

MONDAY, Oct. 26 (HealthDay News) -- In patients with difficult-to-control asthma, a significant proportion are non-adherent to inhaled and oral corticosteroid therapy, according to a study published in the Nov. 1 issue of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

Jacqueline Gamble, of Queen's University of Belfast in the United Kingdom, and colleagues assessed 182 patients to determine prescription-refill rates.

The researchers found that 21 percent of patients filled more than 100 percent of inhaled medication prescriptions, while 45 percent filled 51 to 100 percent and 35 percent filled fewer than 50 percent. After initially denying poor adherence, 88 percent of patients admitted poor compliance. The researchers also observed a 45 percent non-adherence rate among patients prescribed oral steroids.

"This study supports the importance of using objective, surrogate, and direct measures of adherence," the authors write. "Identifying non-adherence in this population is crucially important, given currently available (and imminent) expensive biological therapies but is also central to research efforts to define mechanisms and phenotypes of refractory asthma."

Two authors reported financial relationships with the manufacturers of the medications mentioned in the study.

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