Patients don’t fill prescriptions for asthma medications.
It’s a problem that has been identified in several research studies, including a study published last month in JAMA that found less than half of parents fill prescriptions for their children’s asthma-control drugs.
Several upcoming events in Roanoke and throughout Virginia are aimed at changing that trend.
On Tuesday the Greater Roanoke Valley Asthma and Air Quality Coalition will kick off a month-long education campaign focused on encouraging people to not only fill their prescriptions but also use those medicines properly.
“We have a lot of uncontrolled asthma in the state, in the country and in Roanoke,” Stuart Tousman said.
Tousman, health psychology professor at Jefferson College of Health Sciences, is a leader of the Roanoke coalition and the chairman of the Virginia Asthma Coalition. He is also an asthmatic.
“People are not managing their asthma because they are not managing their asthma medications and adherence is painfully low,” he said noting that only about 30 percent of people use their asthma controller medications.
Controller medications differ from rescue inhalers in that they are used daily to help prevent the need for the rescue inhaler, he said.
The JAMA study analyzed insurance claims for nearly 9,000 children in the United States between 1997 and 2007. That data showed an increase in the patient’s out-of-pocket costs for daily asthma-control drugs was associated with slightly lower medication adherence. The researchers also found that among kids 5 to 18 years old, higher costs were also associated with higher rates of hospitalizations.
Asthma rates have been increasing in Virginia and nationally, according to a report from the Virginia Asthma Coalition.
About 8.4 percent of adult Virginians have asthma.
Here are some of the asthma events the Roanoke coalition will be involved with throughout May:
- May 1: Carilion Clinic Crystal Springs Pharmacy, 2001 Crystal Springs Ave. Free spirometry and education from 9 a.m. to noon
- May 2-4: Carilion Clinic Riverside 3 will have an asthma educational display
- May 5: Look for information at the Mayor’s bike ride in Roanoke from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m.
- May 10: At 3:30 p.m. Tousman will talk about his adult asthma self-management research program during Carilion Clinic Research Day
- May 27: The coalition will have an asthma education table from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. during the Open Streets Festival downtown.