Background: Asthma guidelines advise addressing adherence at every visit, but no simple tools exist to assist clinicians in identifying key adherence-related beliefs or behaviours for individual patients.
Aims: To identify potentially modifiable beliefs and behaviours that predict electronically recorded adherence with controller therapy.
Methods: Patients aged ≥14 years with doctor-diagnosed asthma who were prescribed inhaled corticosteroid/long-acting β2-agonist (ICS/LABA) completed questionnaires on medication beliefs/behaviours, side-effects, Morisky adherence behaviour score and Asthma Control Test (ACT), and recorded spirometry. Adherence with ICS/LABA was measured electronically over 8 weeks. Predictors of adherence were identified by univariate and multivariate analyses.
Results: 99/100 patients completed the study (57 female; forced expiratory volume in 1 s mean ± standard deviation 83 ± 23% predicted; ACT 19.9 ± 3.8). Mean electronically recorded adherence (n= 85) was 75% ± 25, and mean self-reported adherence was 85% ± 26%. Factor analysis of questionnaire items significantly associated with poor adherence identified seven themes: perceived necessity, safety concerns, acceptance of asthma chronicity/medication effectiveness, advice from friends/family, motivation/routine, ease of use and satisfaction with asthma management. Morisky score was moderately associated with actual adherence (r=−0.45, P < 0.0001). In regression analysis, 10 items independently predicted adherence (adjusted R2= 0.67; P < 0.001). Opinions of friends/family about the patient's medication use were strongly associated with poor adherence. Global concerns about ICS/LABA therapy were more predictive of poor adherence than were specific side-effects; the one-third of patients who reported experiencing side-effects from their steroid inhaler had lower adherence than others (mean 62% vs 81%; P= 0.015).
Conclusions: This study identified several specific beliefs and behaviours which clinicians could use for initiating patient-centred conversations about medication adherence in asthma.