A new inhaler designed to address poor inhaler technique is now available in the UK.
DuoResp Spiromax® is licensed for patients aged 18 or over with asthma or COPD. The inhaler contains a mixture of a dry-powder inhaler containing a fixed-dose combination of inhaled corticosteroid and long-acting beta-adrenocepter agonist.
The inhaler aims to address the fact that many patients have incorrect inhaler technique by dispensing a metered dose of the drug despite the patient's position. There is also a dose counter so that people know how much they have taken, the company said.
Beverley Bostock-Cox, nurse practitioner and clinical lead at Education for Health, stressed the importance of health professionals teaching patients the correct inhaler technique to ensure the medicine's efficacy. 'You can't overstress the importance of inhaler technique. I'm very well known for saying that when it comes to making the choice between the device and the drug, your first choice is the device. It doesn't matter how good the drug is, it can't get down [to the lungs] if the patient isn't using it correctly.'
Ms Bostock-Cox also said that a study had shown that only seven per cent of healthcare professionals could demonstrate correct technique and inspiratory flow rate.
Poor inhaler technique can lead to increased hospital admissions, which in turn can drain NHS resources and funding. It is estimated that 5.4 million people in the UK are living with asthma. This costs the NHS around £1 billion a year and asthma caused 1,167 deaths in the UK in 2011, according to Asthma UK. The charity has estimated that 75 per cent of hospital admissions for asthma are avoidable and as many as 90 per cent of the deaths from asthma are preventable.
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