Asthma in the UK

Addressing compliance to asthma treatment in the UK

Background

  • The UK has one of the highest asthma prevalences worldwide
  • An estimated 22.59% of UK adults aged 18 to 45 years have wheezing symptoms, and 17.59% have a doctor diagnosis of asthma
  • Asthma kills 3 people each day in the UK – one of the highest death rates for asthma in Europe. 90% of these premature deaths can be prevented

The challenge

  • Compliance to asthma treatment is generally poor
  • In one study of primary non-adherence in patients with asthma, only 70% of prescriptions were collected
  • While patients are more likely to use their reliever inhaler because of rapidly perceived benefit, their use of inhaled corticosteroids, which have no immediately obvious effect, is generally poor. One study reported that only 57% of prescribed inhaled corticosteroids were used
  • How Patient Connect helped

    Patient Connect’s network of 6,500 community pharmacies across the UK were alerted to the challenge

    pharmacists delivered clinical patient education messages at the point-of-dispensing the target asthma medication. The messages advised patients on how to get the most out of their treatment.

    "To be effective, your inhaler must be used regularly, every day, even when you do not have symptoms. This can help to improve lung function and reduce asthma symptoms"

    "It is important to renew your next prescription promptly, before they run out. Not using your corticosteroid inhaler can increase your risk of worsening symptoms and hospital admission."

    Results

    Using data from our pharmacies and comparing to a control set, we were able to measure a real-time trend line-based impact of the programme.

    This analysis showed that dispensed volumes of the target asthma medication increased by up to 10% during a five-month pilot patient support programme.

    When the full support programme was instigated, dispensed volumes in our active pharmacies grew by up to 20% more than the control (inactive) pharmacies, suggesting the programme had a significant impact on medication compliance.