New Evidence for How to Improve Asthma in Older Patients
A new study aimed at understanding how to improve asthma control in adults over the age of 60 has found that customizing education about asthma and how to use medications significantly improves these patients’ likelihood of taking their medications. As a result of better medication adherence, these patients also experience better asthma control. Data from this randomized trial are published in JAMA Internal Medicine.
Older adults tend to suffer from worse asthma control than younger adult patients. Given that less than 40% of older asthma patients regularly use their medications, the authors of this new study hypothesized that finding ways to improve medication adherence could be the key to improving asthma control in this population.
New York City residents over the age of 59 with uncontrolled asthma participated in this trial, called the Self Management Behaviors in Older Adults (SAMBA). Each of the 406 participants was randomly assigned to receive a self-management intervention that occurred at home, a clinic-based intervention, or usual care without management support.
The researchers found that the patients who had interventions experienced better control of their asthma symptoms and better quality of life over the course of 12 months of follow-up. After a year of interventions, these patients also visited the emergency room for asthma-related issues less frequently than the control group that received no management support.
When the researchers investigated the specific medication-related behaviors, they found that those who received the interventions were more likely to take their recommended medications and correctly use their asthma inhalers than those who were not given the relevant support. Whether the interventions were provided at home or in the clinic did not affect outcomes.
These results improve our understanding of how to help older asthma patients better control their asthma symptoms, mainly by enabling them to properly follow clinicians’ medication recommendations. The results also point to the importance of customizing solutions to specific populations, which requires understanding the specific challenges that different groups of asthma patients may face.