What happens to patients who have their asthma device switched without their consent?

Scott Doyle, Andrew Lloyd, Angela Williams, Henry Chrystyn, Mandy Moffat, Mike Thomas, David Price

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Citations (Scopus)


AIMS: To identify asthma patients who have experienced a non-consented switch (NCS) of their inhaler device and to explore the circumstances and impact of these switches. METHODS: Nineteen asthma patients who had experienced an NCS of their inhaler device were recruited to participate in qualitative, semistructured one-to-one interviews. RESULTS: All 19 participants reported a switch in their asthma inhaler without consultation or approval. There was deterioration in asthma control reported by some participants, many remained unchanged, and two reported better outcomes. Regardless of any change in asthma control, all patients expressed discontent with the NCS. Many felt it had damaged their relationship with their doctor, their confidence in their asthma medication, and their perception of control over their disease. CONCLUSIONS: These qualitative interviews highlight the need to maintain clear and open communication with patients. Switching of patients' inhalers without their consent may diminish the self-control associated with good asthma management, leave the doctor-patient relationship damaged, increase resource utilisation, and waste medication.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)131-139
Number of pages9
JournalPrimary Care Respiratory Journal
Issue number2
Early online date19 Feb 2010
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2010


  • adult
  • aged
  • anti-asthmatic agents
  • asthma
  • female
  • humans
  • informed consent
  • interviews as topic
  • male
  • middle aged
  • nebulizers and vaporizers
  • physician-patient relations
  • young adult


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