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Background: Inhaled medications including corticosteroids are the most effective long-term controller medicines for asthma-related chronic airway inflammation. Despite this fact, 30% to 70% of the uncontrolled asthma patients report non-adherence to their inhalers. The study investigated factors affecting inhaler non-adherence among outpatient asthma patients in Muhimbili National Hospital, Dar es Salaam Tanzania and related the level of inhaler adherence to the extent of asthma control.
Methods: A cross-sectional hospital-based study was conducted among patients with bronchial asthma in the pulmonology clinic of Muhimbili National Hospital in Dar-es-salaam, Tanzania. Patients’ demographic, clinical and socio-economic factors were collected using a structured questionnaire. Medication adherence was self-reported using a 10-item Test of Adherence to Inhalers (TAI) questionnaire. Adherence was gauged as good when the score was 50, intermediate (score 46-49) or poor (score ≤ 45). Asthma control was assessed using a 5-question Asthma Control Test (ACT). A score of ≥20 meant well controlled asthma while a score of ≤19 meant poorly controlled asthma. Patients’ inhaler use technique was assessed using a 12-step checklist. Patient’s technique was regarded correct when all the steps were performed correctly. Categorical data were summarised as proportions. Binary logistic regression was performed to identify factors associated with inhaler non-adherence. Significance level was set at p-value less than .05.
Results: A total of 385 asthma patients were enrolled in the study. Females were 206 (53.5%), 232(60.3%) were nonadherent to medications and 283(73.5%) had poorly controlled asthma. Lack of health insurance, fear of medication side effects, being too busy, having alternative medication for asthma and incorrect inhaler technique were significantly associated with non-adherence to inhalers, all p-values <.05.
Conclusion: The magnitude of inhaler non-adherence and poorly controlled asthma were very high. Promoting adherence through patients’ education on asthma and its management, emphasis on patients’ insurance coverage and setting aside time to care for ones’ self are fundamental in optimising asthma care and treatment.