Incorrect use of inhalation devices among patients with bronchial asthma. A hospital-based cross-sectional study in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

ABSTRACT CONTEXT AND OBJECTIVE: Treatment of asthma implies inhalation of specific drugs to reach high concentrations in the respiratory tree and ensure low drug bioavailability and few adverse effects. This study aimed to evaluate the effectiveness of the inhalation technique among outpatients with asthma. DESIGN AND SETTING: Tertiary-care hospital-based cross-sectional study in Rio de Janeiro. METHODS: We evaluated inhalation practices in a convenience sample. A questionnaire was used to investigate sociodemographic data and assess disease control level, duration of use of the inhalation device, length of treatment and previous instructions provided by the prescribing physician. Patients demonstrated their inhalation technique using empty devices, and their technique was considered correct when all steps were appropriately performed or when errors did not interfere with the treatment outcome. RESULTS: Among the 71 participants, 53 (74.7%) had been using the same inhaler device for at least two years and 41 (57.8%) had been under treatment for two years or more. Twelve (17.1%) said that they had been taught once and 57 (81.4%) at least twice, while one (1.4%) reported not having received any guidance regarding use of inhaler devices. Eighteen patients (25.3%) presented controlled asthma and 28 (39.5%) performed the inhalation technique correctly. Incorrect technique was associated with fewer evaluations of the inhalation technique (P =0.04) and uncontrolled asthma (P = 0.01). CONCLUSIONS: Less than half of the sample performed the inhalation technique correctly. Incorrect inhalation technique was related to lower number of evaluations of the use of the inhalation device and uncontrolled asthma.