Evaluation of the role of the pharmacists in the rational use of inhaler devices in the treatment of asthma and COPDNarin Öztürk, Elif Şeyma Ekşi, Zeliha Pala Kara, Birsel Sönmez Uydeş Doğan
Background and Aims: Inhaled drug-delivery is the cornerstone for the treatment of asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). However, these diseases cannot be adequately controlled in most patients due to the misuse of inhaler devices and poor patient compliance. Patient education is a critical component of treatment and requires the cooperative effort of physicians and pharmacists. This study aimed to evaluate a pharmacists’ ability to use inhaler devices and their practical knowledge, and to assess the extent to which pharmacists have consulted on this issue for the rational drug use of asthma or COPD patients. Methods: A questionnaire containing demographic information, steps for the correct use of inhaler devices, information source for inhaler use, and patient counseling was applied to fifty community pharmacists in Istanbul and the data was evaluated. Results: The number of pharmacists who have adequate knowledge about the use of a Metered-Dose Inhaler was 59%. It was 50% for Turbuhaler®, 54% for Diskus®, and 56% for a Capsule Inhaler. Pharmacists operating in community pharmacies for up to 20 years were more knowledgeable about the correct use of inhaler devices, but there was no statistically significant difference according to the pharmacists years in practice (p<0.05 for each device). Conclusion: About half of the pharmacists did not have enough knowledge for the correct use of each inhaler device. This suggests that there is a clear need for special and continuing educational programs for pharmacists to increase their knowledge of inhaler use and attitudes towards inhaled therapy to provide better patient counseling and training in the management of asthma and COPD.