Parental problems prevent children taking much-needed asthma medication

September 4, 2012

Vienna, Austria: Parental problems and a chaotic home environment could be preventing children from taking their prescribed asthma medication.

A new study, which will be presented today (3 September 2012) at the European Respiratory Society's Annual Congress in Vienna, has shown that children's could be worse due to issues in their home.

Non- to medication is a common problem, although it is not yet understood what the major barriers are for patients. In this new study, researchers have, for the first time, recorded and analysed a large range of commonly suspected reasons for children taking their asthma medication ineffectively.

As part of an on-going project aiming to assess determinants of adherence to asthma, researchers in the Netherlands electronically measured how well children took their maintenance medication to control their asthma. The project has already produced results showing that children with high adherence rates have well-controlled asthma with fewer symptoms, such as and wheeze.

Despite the testing centre offering patients a comprehensive programme, many children still had low adherence to asthma medication. To understand what could be preventing children following a treatment plan, researchers conducted in-depth interviews with the parents of 20 children; those with the lowest adherence rates and those with the highest. They compared the results of these interviews with the rates.

Although all parents in the group who had children with low adherence rates expressed the intention to strictly follow the treatment plan at the outset, they failed to do so during the course of the study. When asked about the barriers preventing their child's adherence to their medication, parents presented a number of as the reason behind their child did not follow their treatment plan effectively.

These factors included chaotic family life, parenting problems, financial problems, or parents being too busy to remember to give their child the medicine in a morning. A further frequent problem was that a number of children between the ages of 8 and 12 years were given full responsibility for taking their medication, without parental support, which often resulted in low adherence.

Lead author, Professor Paul Brand, said: "As part of this qualitative study, we have recorded and analysed a number of factors within the home and associated with family lifestyles which could be causing low adherence to . It is crucial that healthcare professionals treating children with asthma carefully assess what these potential barriers could be so that appropriate interventions can be put in place to help correct the problems."

David Supple, the parent of an asthma sufferer, said: "Long-standing experience in our household certainly backs this research up. It can be chaotic having four children and when we have given our son, Alex, responsibility over his medication to control his asthma, we have found his adherence slip away. We are conscious of this now and would encourage other parents to keep a close eye on their child's level of adherence and to spot potential barriers before they become a problem."

Related Stories

Can text messaging improve medication adherence?

May 24, 2011

Text messaging and adolescents don’t always mix well, but researchers at National Jewish Health hope text messages can spur teenagers to take their asthma medications more reliably. The study is testing whether health ...

Recommended for you

How to become a T follicular helper cell

July 30, 2015

Follicular helper Tcells (TFH cells), a rare type of immune cell that is essential for inducing a strong and lasting antibody response to viruses and other microbes, have garnered intense interest in recent years but the ...

Uncovering the secrets of immune system invaders

July 20, 2015

The human immune system is a powerful and wonderful creation. If you cut your skin, your body mobilizes a series of different proteins and cells to heal the cut. If you are infected by a virus or bacteria, your immune system ...

The role of the microbiota in preventing allergies

July 10, 2015

The human body is inhabited by billions of symbiotic bacteria, carrying a diversity that is unique to each individual. The microbiota is involved in many mechanisms, including digestion, vitamin synthesis and host defense. ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.