A study conducted by Allergy UK has pointed out that many asthma patients and those suffering from severe allergies do not know HOW to use the medical devices prescribed to them properly. That includes asthma inhalers, epinephrine injectors and other intervention drugs they are given to deal with emergencies. The researcher sin the study found that only 7% people were using their asthma inhalers properly and only 16% knew how to use the epinephrine injector correctly.
“This isn’t a new concern. We always worry about our patients, especially those with food allergies” cites Dr. Aasia Ghazi, form the Allergy and Asthma Specialists of Dallas.
“We had a patient call in the middle of a reaction, and she didn’t remember how to use the epinephrine injector. That’s why we looked to see what’s going on, and what are the barriers that keep patients from using these devise properly?”
Ghazi adds, “A life can be saved with an epinephrine injection. It’s a big deal.”
Due to improper usage of these devices, some people were put on stronger inhalers than they would have otherwise needed.
Epinephrine injector can be life saving, only if people know how to administer it properly. The most common mistake in this case was found to be not holding the injector in place for at least ten seconds, the second most common reason being failure to put the needle of the device on the thigh. The third most common mistake was not pushing it down forcefully enough to release the injection.
Dr. Rana Bonds, lead author of the study, said: “Most patients made multiple mistakes and would not have benefited from self-administration of the potentially life-saving treatment if the need arose.”
Dr Rana said either the pople were not trained properly enough to be able to make the best use of their devices when the need arose or they forgot the instructions given to them over a period of time.
“You wouldn’t give someone a new car without them having driving lessons first, so if you are going to invest in prescribing a lifetime of asthma medicines, it’s crucial that healthcare professionals ensure that their patients know how to use them,” said Dr Samantha Walker, director of research and policy at Asthma UK.
The study has underlined the need to give more practice to people whose health or lives might depend upon these devices. Even if misuse does not prove to be life threatening, poor use can seriously affect the general effectiveness of the drug.