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Wednesday 01 March 2000

Effect of salmeterol on patients' adherence to their prescribed refills for inhaled corticosteroids.

By: Kelloway JS, Wyatt R, DeMarco J, Adlis S.

Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol 2000 Mar;84(3):324-8

BACKGROUND: Optimal treatment for persistent asthma requires multiple classes of medication, including antiinflammatory agents and bronchodilators. Inhaled corticosteroids are the most effective antiinflammatory agents available and are recommended by recent guidelines as first-line treatment. Salmeterol, a long-acting inhaled bronchodilator, is recommended as adjunctive therapy to inhaled corticosteroids. Non-adherence to prescribed medication is prevalent and has been implicated in asthma exacerbations. Salmeterol's benefits in terms of asthma control are readily perceived by patients whereas the benefits of inhaled corticosteroid therapy may be less apparent. OBJECTIVE: To evaluate whether the addition of salmeterol to a medication regimen affects patient adherence to prescription refills for inhaled corticosteroids. METHODS: A retrospective medical chart and pharmacy claims record review before and after the addition of salmeterol was used. Medication adherence rates were calculated for 67 patients requiring inhaled corticosteroids for at least 8 months before and after the addition of salmeterol. RESULTS: Adherence with inhaled corticosteroid therapy before (49.7% +/- 29.3%) and after (56.5% +/- 28.6%) the introduction of salmeterol was not significantly different (P = .0785, pre versus post). Adherence with salmeterol was significantly higher (58.7% +/- 28.3%) than inhaled corticosteroids at baseline (P = .0202), but not with concurrent use. Dosing frequency of inhaled corticosteroid administration was not a significant factor in adherence, but increasing age was (r = 0.41788, P = .0048). CONCLUSIONS: The addition of salmeterol does not adversely affect the adherence rates to prescription refills for prescribed inhaled corticosteroid therapy. On average, important antiinflammatory treatment should not be supplanted with salmeterol if prescribed in combination.

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