Advertising


Opinion

Mastering asthma management and inhaler maintenance


Kerry Hancock


19/01/2024 2:59:19 PM

Asthma treatment has evolved but having a good management plan and keeping inhalers clean remain essential, writes Dr Kerry Hancock.

Woman holding an asthma puffer.
While there have been advancements in asthma treatment and inhaler technology, it’s essential not to overlook the basics.

As a GP, I’ve observed how important it is for people living with asthma to achieve good control of their disease, as well as the value in assessing and managing the future risk of adverse outcomes.
 
This requires a comprehensive and multifaceted approach addressing medication adherence, as well as checking and correcting inhaler technique and inhaler hygiene and maintenance.
 
However, since 2020, there’s been a decline in interest and participation among GPs in asthma management.
 
Routine asthma reviews were often deprioritised during the pandemic. But as we transition out of those times, it’s crucial patients receive appropriate management to maintain good asthma control to prevent deterioration of lung function and reduce the risk of flareups, hospitalisations and even death.
 
Routine asthma reviews also serve as opportunities to check and correct inhaler techniques and cleaning routines.
 
While there have been advancements in asthma treatment and inhaler technology, it’s essential not to overlook the basics.
 
Some may believe that educating patients about inhaler hygiene falls under the responsibility of pharmacists, but GPs have a critical role to play too, as cleaning and maintaining inhalers according to the manufacturer’s instructions ensure accurate medication delivery and prevent clogging.
 
Neglecting proper maintenance and cleaning of asthma inhalers can lead to unnecessary disposal of the inhaler, or result in inconsistent medication delivery, affecting asthma control (if maintenance inhalers) or impeding the ability to promptly relieve an asthma attack (if reliever inhalers).
 
Reminding patients about inhaler cleaning can be easily incorporated into the asthma review consultation. Inhaler manufacturers often provide device-specific instructions for inhaler cleaning; however, they can be overlooked by patients. And this is where, we, GPs, can contribute.
 
By regularly cleaning their inhalers following manufacturers’ instructions, patients can ensure their device’s proper functioning.
 
With the arrival of summer, it’s crucial to address the topic of asthma and respiratory challenges facing many patients.
 
This presents a great opportunity for GPs to reconnect with patients, assess asthma control by using an easy tool such as the Asthma Control Test, review their medication management and adherence, check and correct their inhaler technique, review smoking status, ensure that their asthma action plan is up to date, and emphasise the importance of maintaining proper inhaler hygiene for optimal results.
 
By taking a comprehensive approach to asthma management that also considers comorbidities, GPs can assist patients to better manage their condition and prevent severe asthma attacks.
 
In addition to healthcare provider guidance, patients can benefit from online platforms, support groups, and educational materials that provide information on asthma management, medication usage, inhaler cleaning and care, and lifestyle adjustments to alleviate symptoms.
 
With appropriate treatment and support, people with asthma can lead healthy, active lives, experiencing improved quality of life and easier breathing.
 
Log in below to join the conversation.
 



asthma preventative health


newsGP weekly poll Would you be willing to provide a firearms health assessment for your patient?
 
9%
 
80%
 
10%
Related





newsGP weekly poll Would you be willing to provide a firearms health assessment for your patient?

Advertising

Advertising


Login to comment