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Do some people have problems using inhalers?
Patients with respiratory diseases often use so-called inhalers to take medication. Researchers have now found that many arthritis patients have difficulty taking their medication with the help of an inhaler because of the difficulty in handling the devices.
The researchers at Bath University found that using inhalers is very difficult for some people with respiratory diseases. If, for example, you suffer from rheumatoid arthritis at the same time, this means that those affected cannot take their medication properly. The scientists published the results of their study in the English-language journal "Respiratory Medicine".
Rheumatoid arthritis can make inhaler use more difficult
Respiratory diseases, including asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), are common in people with rheumatoid arthritis. An estimated 60,000 people in the UK alone suffer from both rheumatoid arthritis and lung disease, the authors explain. It should be checked whether patients with respiratory diseases and rheumatoid arthritis can use their inhalers correctly, the experts say. This could reduce the risk that affected people cannot take their medication properly.
Only 15 percent of the participants were able to use some devices correctly
In the study, the researchers compared four different commercial inhalers. The team recruited a total of 34 subjects with rheumatoid arthritis and compared how well they could use these four types of commonly prescribed inhalers. The results were then compared to a healthy control group. The scientists found that only 15 percent of arthritis patients could complete all the steps to use a handihaler inhaler. In contrast, the value in the control group was 94 percent. It takes seven steps to properly operate a handihaler, such as removing the medication from its packaging and inserting it into the inhaler. Arthritis often affects the hands, the disease makes complex or controlled actions difficult and painful, which can lead to problems when using inhalers.
Turbuhaler was easier to use
In contrast, 85 percent of arthritis patients and 100 percent of those in the control group were able to use an inhaler called Turbuhaler correctly. This only requires three steps: unscrew the cap, use the rotating mechanism and reinsert the cap.
Inhalers must be used correctly
“These results show how important it is that healthcare professionals ensure that people can use any inhaler they are prescribed. If someone comes home from a pharmacy with a new inhaler and finds that they cannot use it, their lung disease is not being treated properly and the NHS is losing money because some inhalers cost more than £ 50, ”explains Dr. Matthew Jones from the Department of Pharmacy and Pharmacology at Bath University in a press release.
Asthma can be fatal
The potential consequences if an inhaler cannot be operated physically are very serious for the patient, since poorly treated asthma can be fatal, the expert adds. Therefore, pharmacists, doctors and nurses should check whether patients can use prescribed inhalers correctly. In this way, better results can be achieved and stress and irritation of a complex and difficult process can be avoided for the patient. Nobody wants to see that patients have to struggle unnecessarily to take the medication they need to deal with serious illnesses. Hopefully the results of the study will change, the researchers say. (as)