Unplanned admissions for asthma often result from people not taking their preventative treatment as prescribed.1 Asthma is an inflammatory condition that requires anti-inflammatory treatment to control it. Regular, ongoing use of inhaled corticosteroids is the mainstay of treatment. If inflammation is poorly controlled the condition will impact the individual's day to day activities and quality of life. People with poorly controlled asthma are at risk from exacerbations or even death.
Asthma UK's statistics show that 75 per cent of asthma admissions and 90 per cent of asthma deaths and are avoidable.2 In too many cases, people are not taking their inhaled steroid as prescribed. However, it is well known that adherence to any medication regimen becomes more difficult when symptoms are not present.
People with asthma often reduce or stop their medication when they are well, leading in some cases to a return to poorly controlled asthma. This is the right thing to do if symptoms have been fully controlled for at least three months3 but there is a risk that people will adjust their asthma medication inappropriately without understanding how to do so safely or how to recognise signs that might indicate a deterioration in control. Patients often need encouragement to fully understand their asthma and how to proactively manage the condition in the best way.