Asthma and COPD Medication Adherence Has Increased During the COVID-19 Pandemic

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Study in The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice, an official journal of the AAAAI, examines adherence trends before and during the outbreak of COVID-19 in the United States using data from Propeller Health’s digital health platform.

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“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.

According to research from The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice (JACI: In Practice), controller inhaler adherence increased between January and March 2020, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Researchers analyzed the adherence of controller inhaler use for 7,578 patients using Propeller Health, a digital platform that uses electronic medication monitors to track inhaler use and send alerts to patients about missed doses. Data showed that between the first seven days of January 2020 and the last seven days of March 2020, there was a 14.5% relative increase in mean daily controller medication adherence. During the last week of March, data showed over 53% of patients achieved 75% or greater medication adherence, up 14.9% from the first seven days 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,” said first author Leanne Kaye, PhD, MPH. “This research further supports that digital health tools can improve adherence and provide insight into patient well-being between office visits.”

The study authors believe that the observed trend may be attributable to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic guidelines regarding medication use, as well as patients’ desire to keep their pre-existing respiratory disease under control at this time.

Daily controller medications are essential for patients with respiratory conditions such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. Controlling primary respiratory diseases with proper medication use can improve disease outcomes and reduce acute events requiring medical care, which could inadvertently expose a patient to COVID-19.

There were no statistically significant differences in improved medication adherence between asthma and COPD patients during the study period. The data showed similar medication adherence increases across all age groups, with older patients overall showing a higher baseline adherence.

You can learn more about asthma and COVID-19 on the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology website, aaaai.org.

The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI) represents allergists, asthma specialists, clinical immunologists, allied health professionals and others with a special interest in the research and treatment of allergic and immunologic diseases. Established in 1943, the AAAAI has more than 7,100 members in the United States, Canada and 72 other countries. The AAAAI’s Find an Allergist/Immunologist service is a trusted resource to help you find a specialist close to home.

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