Friday, 19 December 2014

Many People Misuse Devices for Asthma, Allergic Reaction


Memory of correct way to use inhalers, epinephrine pens faded over time, researchers report

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WebMD News from HealthDay

By Serena Gordon

HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Dec. 18, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Few people know how to properly use the medical devices that contain lifesaving medications for severe allergic reactions and asthma attacks, a new study shows.

Just 16 percent knew the correct way to use an epinephrine injector for someone with a life-threatening allergy. And only 7 percent knew how to use an asthma inhaler as directed.

"This isn't a new concern. We always worry about our patients, especially those with food allergies," said one of the study's authors, Dr. Aasia Ghazi, from the Allergy and Asthma Specialists of Dallas.

"We had a patient call in the middle of a reaction, and she didn't remember how to use the 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?" Ghazi explained.

The study was published online Dec. 18 in the Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.

A life-threatening allergic reaction is known as anaphylaxis. The incidence of anaphylaxis is rising, according to background information in the study. A shot of epinephrine -- a stimulating hormone -- into a muscle can stop anaphylaxis, according to the study authors.

"A life can be saved with an epinephrine injection. It's a big deal," said Ghazi.

Asthma inhalers can be used to deliver medicine to stop an asthma attack, or they can deliver preventive medications that help stop asthma attacks from occurring. They can be used alone or along with an additional device called a spacer. Spacers are chambers that temporarily hold the medication, which can be especially helpful when giving medication to children, according to the American Lung Association.

Misuse of asthma inhalers or spacers can lead to too little medicine being used. That means symptoms might not be treated properly. It can also lead to overuse of medication, according to background information in the study.

Ghazi and her colleagues recruited 102 patients prescribed epinephrine and 44 prescribed asthma inhalers or spacers for the study. Eleven percent of those prescribed epinephrine had used the device before. Eighty percent of those with asthma reported having used an inhaler -- also called a metered-dose inhaler, or MDI -- or a spacer before, the researchers said.

source : Many People Misuse Devices for Asthma, Allergic Reaction

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