Parental problems and a chaotic home environment could be preventing children from taking their prescribed asthma medication, according to a new study.
Not taking asthma medication as prescribed is a common problem, but up until now, the medical community did not know what was causing this phenomenon.
As part of the study, 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 breathlessness and wheeze.
Despite the testing center offering patients a comprehensive asthma care program, many children still had low adherence to asthma medication. To understand what could be preventing children from taking their medication, researchers conducted in-depth interviews with the parents of 20 children — those with the lowest adherence rates and those with the highest.
They then compared the results of these interviews with the electronic monitoring rates.
Although all parents in the group who had children with low adherence rates expressed an 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 from taking their medication, parents presented a number of lifestyle factors, such as a chaotic family life, parenting problems, financial problems, or parents being too busy to remember to give their child the medicine in a morning.
A frequent problem was that a number of children between the ages of 8 and 12 were given full responsibility for taking their medication, without parental support, which often resulted in low adherence, according to the researchers.
“It is crucial that health care 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,” said Dr. Paul Brand, lead author of the study.
The study was presented at the European Respiratory Society’s Annual Congress in Vienna.
Source: European Respiratory Society