METHODS: A self-administered standard questionnaire was distributed to parents of children attending the Paediatric Asthma Clinic. All these children required inhaled steroids for treatment.
RESULTS: One-hundred and twelve of 170 parents (66%) surveyed were concerned with inhaled therapy. The most common concern with its use was medication side effects (91%), followed by 'inhaler dependency' (86%), cost of the inhaler (34%) and difficulty in using the inhaler (15%). Parental perception that the oral route was superior to the inhaled route, preference for the oral route for asthma prophylaxis and a higher steroid dose required for prophylaxis were more likely to be associated with concerns towards inhaled therapy. More importantly, these children were also more likely to miss > 25% of their prescribed doses of inhaled steroids (46 vs 22% in the group concerned about inhaled therapy compared with the group that was not concerned, respectively; P = 0.007) and had a higher mean number of nebulization treatments in the last year (3.2 +/- 2.9 vs 1.8 +/- 1.3 in the group concerned about inhaled therapy compared with the group that was not concerned, respectively; P = 0.01).
CONCLUSIONS: A significant proportion of parents whose children were on inhaled prophylaxis had concerns towards the use of inhaled therapy. Parental concern towards inhaled therapy appeared to increase the problem of non-adherence to treatment. Education for these parents will need to be addressed to improve asthma management in our patient population.