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Keywords:

  • asthma;
  • child;
  • data mining;
  • disease management;
  • drug therapy;
  • pharmacy

Aim

To review the supply of medications to children with asthma and parent-reported management of childhood asthma in Tasmania and highlight evidence-practice gaps for future interventions.

Methods

Participating pharmacies ran a software application that extracted data from dispensing records and helped to identify children with asthma. Parents of identified children were mailed a survey evaluating components of asthma management. Dispensing and survey data were analysed.

Results

A total of 939 children from 23 pharmacies were identified by the software and deemed eligible for inclusion. Surveys were received from 353 (37.6%) parents. In the past year, short-acting beta-2 agonists were supplied to 56.1% of the cohort, preventers to 76.5% (inhaled corticosteroids 52.3%; leukotriene receptor antagonists 31.3%; inhaled cromones 0.6%), long-acting beta-2 agonists (LABAs) to 25.7% and oral corticosteroids to 21.5%. Approximately half of the children receiving inhaled corticosteroids were concurrently receiving a LABA. Among children with indicators of inadequately controlled asthma, up to 73.7% of their parents reported that their asthma was adequately controlled, up to 38.2% did not possess an Asthma Action Plan, up to 36.8% were not regularly using a spacer and up to 22.8% had not received a preventer.

Conclusion

These results indicate gaps in childhood asthma management, in particular, undersupply of preventers in high-risk patient groups, high supply of LABAs and insufficient spacer and asthma action plan usage. These areas should be targeted for interventions to improve childhood asthma management.