A new study has shown that very few people know the proper usage of the medical devices containing lifesaving medications for asthma attacks and severe allergies.
According to the researchers, only seven percent of the asthma patients know the correct method of using asthma inhaler and just 16 percent are aware of the proper method of using epinephrine injector to treat life-threatening allergies.
Dr. Aasia Ghazi, study investigator from the Allergy and Asthma Specialists of Dallas, said, “This is not a new concern. We always worry about our patients, especially those with food allergies.”
Citing an example of an allergy patient, Ghazi explained, “We had a patient call in the middle of a reaction and we found that she didn’t remember the correct use of epinephrine injector. That’s why we looked to see what’s going on, and what are the barriers that keep patients from using these devices properly?”
For the study, the researchers’ team involved 44 asthma patients prescribed asthma inhalers or spacers and 102 allergic patients prescribed epinephrine. While 11 percent of the allergic participants had used the device before, 80 percent of asthma patients had already used an inhaler or metered-dose inhaler (MDI) or a spacer in the past.
84 percent of the allergic patients were found misusing epinephrine, with more than half missing three or more steps for correct method of using the device. Researchers said that the most common mistake committed by them was not leaving the shot in for 10 seconds.
Demonstrating the proper use of epinephrine injector, Ghazi said, “We instruct patients to leave the unit in place for 10 seconds to make sure 100 percent of the medication is injected.”
On the other hand, 93 percent of the asthma patients were found misusing asthma inhalers or spacers. Out of them, 63 percent were found missing three or more steps. Forgetting to exhale before depressing the canister for inhaling the medication was the most common mistake committed by them.
The researchers underlined that improper use of medication devices leave the patients untreated with their severe health condition.
The study’s findings were detailed online on December 18 in the journal Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.