Asthma, COPD medication adherence improved during COVID-19 pandemic
From January through March, during the COVID-19 pandemic, adherence to controller inhalers appears to have increased among patients with asthma and COPD, according to a research letter published in The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice.
Using data from Propeller Health, a digital platform that collects information on inhaler use through electronic medication monitors, the researchers evaluated adherence to controller inhalers among 7,578 patients (67% women; median age, 40 years). Of these patients, 77% had asthma. They evaluated adherence during the first 7 days of January through the last 7 days of March.
During the study period, mean daily controller medication adherence increased by 14.5% overall. Although older patients had higher levels of adherence at baseline, increases in adherence were similar across age groups, and after adjustment for age, results demonstrated no clinically meaningful differences in adherence for patients with asthma or COPD.
The researchers also found that more than 53% of patients achieved at least 75% adherence to controller medications during the last week of March, which represents a 14.9% increase from the first week of January.
“We are encouraged by the increase in patient adherence to their medications for asthma and COPD, which is critical to avoiding symptoms and keeping patients out of the hospital during this pandemic,” Leanne Kaye, PhD, MPH, from ResMed in San Diego, said in a press release. “This research further supports that digital health tools can improve adherence and provide insight into patient well-being between office visits.”
In the research letter, Kaye and colleagues noted that they could not pinpoint the exact reason for the increase in controller inhaler medication adherence in this population, but the trend may reflect patient response to national COVID-19 guidance as well as heightened concerns about controlling their preexisting respiratory diseases during the pandemic.
“Future analyses should also explore if medication adherence changed during other recent pandemics like H1N1. This initial evidence on adherence is encouraging during the first weeks of the COVID-19 and hopefully will have a positive effect on improving control of asthma and COPD and minimize the need for acute care for their primary respiratory disease,” the researchers wrote. – by Melissa Foster
Disclosures: This study was funded by Propeller Health, an affiliate of ResMed. Kaye reports she is a paid employee of ResMed. Please see the study for all other authors’ relevant financial disclosures.