Adequate levels of adherence with controller medication is associated with increased use of rescue medication in asthmatic children

Hajer Elkout, Peter J Helms, Colin R Simpson, James S McLay

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Citations (Scopus)
8 Downloads (Pure)


Background: The role of asthma controller medication adherence and the level of asthma control in children is poorly defined.

Aims: To assess the association between asthma controller medication adherence and asthma control in children using routinely acquired prescribing data.

Methods: A retrospective observational study of children aged 0-18 years prescribed inhaled corticosteroids only (ICS), leukotriene receptors antagonists (LTRA), or long-acting beta 2 agonists (LABA) and ICS prescribed as separate or combined inhalers, between 01/09/2001 and 31/08/2006, registered with primary care practices contributing to the Practice Team Information database. The medication possession ratio (MPR) was calculated and associations with asthma control explored. Poor asthma control was defined as the issue of prescriptions for >= 1 course of oral corticosteroids (OCS) and/or >= 6 short-acting beta 2 agonists (SABA) canisters annually.

Results: A total of 3172 children prescribed asthma controller medication were identified. Of these, 15-39% (depending on controller medication) demonstrated adequate MPR. Adequate MPR was associated with male gender, good socioeconomic status, and oral LTRA therapy. Adequate MPR was more likely to be associated with increased use of rescue medication. However logistic regression only identified a significant relationship for ICS only (odds ratio [OR], 1.89; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.35-2.48; p < 0.001), LTRA (OR, 2.11; 95% CI, 1.27-3.48; p = 0.004) and LABA/ICS (OR, 2.85; 95% CI, 1.62-5.02; p < 0.001).

Conclusion: Poor adherence was observed for all asthma controller medications, although was significantly better for oral LRTA. In this study adequate adherence was not associated with the use of less rescue medication, suggesting that adherence is a complex issue.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere39130
Number of pages6
JournalPloS ONE
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 27 Jun 2012


  • fluticasone propionate/salmeterol combination
  • inhaled corticosteroids
  • resource utilization
  • general-practice
  • therapy
  • care
  • prescription
  • persistence
  • concordance
  • population


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