PHILADELPHIA — Teenagers are more likely to be noncompliant with their asthma controller medications, which may lead to self-esteem issues and depression due to uncontrolled asthma and feeling “different,” according to a recent presentation at the annual meeting of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners.
“I think we do a really good job of diagnosing and recommending medications, but in between, there’s a lot that needs to be done to control their environment and stop those triggers,” Sophia L. Thomas, APRN, FNP-BC, PPCNP-BC, FNAP, FAANP, said in an interview with Infectious Diseases in Children. “We need time with them, and if you can get to them and understand why it’s so important for them to take their daily medications and what could happen if they don’t … that’s one of the biggest factors in making a difference."
According to Thomas, teenagers who have asthma use recreational drugs as much or more than other teenagers who do not have asthma due to these psychological factors. Other considerations for uncontrolled asthma in children and teenagers include cold, influenza or sinus infection, as well as the baseline severity of their asthma.
A common trait of adolescents with asthma includes denial of symptoms and underreporting. This may prompt them to discontinue use of controller medications and rely solely on albuterol inhalers for “quick fixes” to relieve their symptoms.
Teenagers with uncontrolled asthma are also more likely to miss school days due to symptoms; however, Thomas stressed that despite having a chronic condition, children and teenagers with asthma should be able to play or exercise without limitations if the condition is well-controlled. They should also be able to attend school every day when they are well.
“It’s a big commitment to use an inhaled corticosteroid twice a day, every day, to control their asthma symptoms if you’re an adult. It’s even harder if you’re trying to get a kid to do it,” Thomas said in the presentation. “This is a treatment decision that you have to make with your patients and you have to pair up with them to make a decision about what will work best for them.” — by Katherine Bortz
Thomas SL. Advances in asthma: Treatments across the lifespan Presented at: American Association of Nurse Practitioners National Conference; June 20-25, 2017; Philadelphia.
Disclosure: The researchers provide no relevant financial disclosures.