Background Children with asthma receiving specialty care have been found to have improved asthma outcomes. However, these outcomes can be adversely affected by poor adherence with controller medications. Objective To analyze pharmacy fill patterns as a measure of primary adherence in a group of underserved minority children receiving allergy subspecialty care. Methods As part of a larger 18-month nebulizer use study in underserved children (ages 2-8 years) with persistent asthma, 53 children were recruited from an urban allergy practice. Pharmacy records were compared with prescribing records for all asthma medications. Results Allergist controller prescriptions were written in 30-day quantities with refills and short-acting β-agonists (SABAs) with no refills. Only 49.1% of inhaled corticosteroid (ICS), 49.5% of combination ICS and long-acting β-agonist, and 64.5% of leukotriene modifier (LTM) initial and refill prescriptions were ever filled during the 18-month period. A mean of 5.1 refills (range, 0-14) for SABAs were obtained during 18 months, although only 1.28 SABA prescriptions were prescribed by the allergist. Mean times between first asthma prescription and actual filling were 30 days (range, 0-177 days) for ICSs, 26.6 days (range, 0-156 days) for LTMs, and 16.8 days (range, 0-139 days) for SABAs. Conclusion Underserved children with asthma receiving allergy subspecialty care suboptimally filled controller prescriptions, yet filled abundant rescue medications from other prescribers. Limiting albuterol prescriptions to one canister without additional refills may provide an opportunity to monitor fill rates of both rescue and controller medications and provide education to patients about appropriate use of medications to improve adherence.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine