Background: Suboptimal adherence to inhaled steroids is a known problem in children and adolescents, even when medications are administered under parental supervision. This study aimed to verify the adherence rate to beclomethasone dipropionate (BDP) by four currently available methods.
Methods: In this concurrent cohort study, 102 randomly selected asthmatic children and adolescents aged 3–14 years were followed for 12 months. Adherence rate was assessed every 2 months by self and/or parent report, pharmacy dispensing data, electronic device (Doser®; Meditrack Products, Hudson, MA, USA) monitor, and canister weight.
Results: Mean adherence rates to BDP by self and/or parent report, pharmacy records, Doser, and canister weight were 97.9% (95% CI 88.0–98.6), 70.0% (95% CI 67.6–72.4), 51.5% (95% CI 48.3–54.6), and 46.3% (95% CI 44.1–48.4), respectively. Agreement analysis between (Doser) and canister weight revealed a weighted kappa equal to 0.76 (95% CI 0.65–0.87).
Conclusions: Adherence was a dynamic event and rates decreased progressively for all methods over the 12-month follow-up. Canister weight and electronic monitoring measures were more accurate than self/parent reports and pharmacy records. Rates obtained by these two methods were very close and statistical analysis also showed a substantial agreement between them. As measurements by canister weight are less costly compared with currently available electronic devices, it should be considered as an alternative method to assess adherence in both clinical research and practice.