A study conducted by digital therapeutics firm Propeller Health has revealed that 84% of people with asthma may be using their inhalers incorrectly.


Image: Propeller Health study has showed that majority people use inhalers incorrectly. Photo: courtesy of Propeller Health.

The study, which was carried out by Propeller Health, along with the University of Colorado School of Medicine and Children’s Hospital Colorado, showed that majority of asthma patients using their inhalers incorrectly, which make medicine less effective and increase the risk.

Most asthma medicines require that patients take two puffs of their inhaler to secure the prescribed dose.

Asthma guidelines and patient instructions for inhaled medications propose that patients exhale completely prior to inhaling, inhale the medication slowly and deeply, hold their breath for up to 10 seconds and then wait prior to their next inhalation, These various steps will consume between 30 and 60 seconds.

The steps enable the medication to reach the correct parts of the respiratory tract and optimize effectiveness.

Data from 7,558 patients, gathered by Propeller Health’s digital medicine, demonstrated that the majority of patients took less than 30 seconds between the first and second puff of their rescue or controller inhaler, while 67% waited less than 15 seconds between inhalations.

The data also showed that only 16% of patients waited more than 30 seconds between puffs, which is minimum time required to complete the recommended steps.

The 4-11-year-old patients had the highest level of acceptable timing between inhaler use, while those 18-29 years had the lowest, of the patients studied.

Propeller platform will be used by patients with the attachment of a sensor to their existing inhaler. The sensor covers medication usage and location data and provides insights to the patient through their phone or desktop portal.

The insights comprise of medication adherence reminders, air quality forecasts, symptom insights and tips to help them self-manage their disease

Propeller medical and clinical affairs SVP Dr David Stempel said: “Doctors have known for years that many patients do not follow the recommended inhaler instructions. This is the first time we’ve had objective data from digital medicines to observe it outside of the clinic.”