On day 3 of ERS, we ran our final respiratory leaders Q&A session with Professor Richard Dekhuijizen, where he discussed the unmet needs that exist within the management of asthma and COPD.
During his session, Dekhuijizen explored the growing issue of non-adherence in chronic respiratory diseases, and how challenges with inhaler technique only exacerbate this further. With so many drug-inhaler combinations available, correct medication use is made extremely complicated for patients in his view. Some may be prescribed multiple inhalers, to be taken at different times, each with a specific technique required (which can often be complex). And if they aren’t certain they are inhaling correctly, this may discourage them from sticking to their treatment regime.
Aside from issues with inhaler technique, there are a variety of other factors which can influence patients’ adherence to medication. Comorbidities, social environments, patient understanding, fear of side effects and inhaler preference are just some of these components, and Dekhuijzen argued that it’s vital for healthcare professionals (HCPs) to understand these on an individual basis. Once the reasons behind inadequate adherence are fully understood, HCPs can then focus on matching each patient to a device which can complement their individual needs.