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Asthma Inhalers Often Misused

Training Cuts Patients' Errors in Using Dry Powder Inhalers for Asthma and COPD
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

Oct. 24, 2007 -- Dry powder inhalers are often misused by patients with asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), a new German study shows.

The researchers make two recommendations:

  • Patients should be trained in the proper use of their dry powder inhaler.
  • Patients should show their health care provider how they use their dry powder inhaler.

The study included 224 newly diagnosed asthma or COPD patients who used dry powder inhalers to deliver medication to their lungs.

When the patients were asked to demonstrate how they use their dry powder inhaler, 32% made errors.

Patients older than 60 and those with more severe airway obstruction were more likely than younger, healthier patients to misuse their dry powder inhaler.

Training the patients in the proper use of their dry powder inhalers reduced the patients' errors.

A pressurized meter-dose inhaler "might be a valuable treatment alternative" for patients who can't master the dry powder inhaler, write Siegfried Wieshammer, MD, and colleagues.

They reported their findings today in Chicago at CHEST 2007, the annual international scientific assembly of the American College of Chest Physicians.

Wieshammer works at the Klinikum Offenburg in Offenburg, Germany.

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