Most using inhalers incorrectly

  • Deborah Condon

The majority of Irish patients with asthma are not using their inhalers properly, the early results of a survey currently being carried out indicate.

The survey is being carried out in pharmacies as part of a joint campaign by the Irish Pharmacy Union and the Asthma Society of Ireland. The campaign, ‘Ask your pharmacist about inhaler technique’, aims to ensure the best possible relief of symptoms.

Asthma affects almost 500,000 people in Ireland – the fourth highest rate of the condition worldwide. This high rate poses concerns for the public health system, as acute asthma attacks are responsible for 6,000 hospital admissions and 26,000 A&E visits every year.

“Pharmacists are ideally positioned as healthcare professionals to help people with their asthma control. Small changes in managing the conditio, such as better inhaler technique, effective use of inhalers, avoiding over-reliance on emergency inhalers and proper care and maintenance of inhalers can make a huge difference to the health of a patient”, said Galway pharmacist, Darragh O’Loughlin.

He pointed out that uncontrolled asthma can have a negative effect on people’s lives. For example, they may be restricted in terms of physical activity and are more likely to be admitted to hospital.

“We believe the role of the pharmacist in providing a structured medicines management review for patients suffering from common conditions such as asthma is under-utilised. We continue to call on the Government to expand the role of pharmacists in delivering effective healthcare in the community”, Mr O’Loughlin said.

He added that this approach would not only benefit patients, but would also save money for the Exchequer.

Also commenting on the issue, Asthma Society CEO, Jean Holohan, said that the role of the pharmacist in reinforcing good inhaler technique ‘could be invaluable to patients’.

Ms Holohan is also encouraging people with asthma to visit the society’s website, where inhaler technique is demonstrated by an asthma nurse and patient. See

See also our Asthma Clinic at…


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