Method/Study design: Forty-nine patients aged 14-20 who were attending hospital asthma clinics were interviewed for the study. The interview schedule was designed to gather data on the impact of asthma on different aspects of life including ‘medication and taking care of yourself.
Key findings: The average age of the participants was 15.6 years and the mean age at diagnosis of asthma was 4.9 years. Most of those interviewed believed that compliance with prescribed medication was very important and many had formed this belief following a negative experience that they attributed to previous non-compliance. Only four of the 49 told the interviewer that they had always taken their medication as prescribed. The most common form of non-compliance was failure to take one or more of the prescribed drugs at all for a period of time. Forgetfulness was the stated reason in 24 cases and perceived ineffectiveness in seven. A small number (four) reported difficulties in using their inhaler. The researchers classified four patients as being in denial about their asthma. Embarrassment (three), inconvenience(three) and fear of side effects (two) were other reasons cited.
Interpretation: The authors suggest that asthma education should perhaps seek to provide the kind of practical knowledge and information that currently seems to be coming from negative personal experiences. Peer education could play a valuable role, they suggest. The findings again indicate the need for health professionals to find out more about individual concerns and problems in medicines use and responding accordingly.
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