People with asthma are at risk of having a potentially fatal attack. Thousands of people are in danger because they are using long-acting reliever inhalers on their own rather than with a steroid preventer, according to a report by Asthma UK.
Asthma UK asserts that using the long-acting reliever inhalers pose a danger because, even though the reliever helps in improving a patient’s breathing, it does not treat the underlying inflammation that causes asthma flare-ups.
A spokesperson from Asthma UK said the following.
“This leaves the airways of people with asthma inflamed and more likely to react to triggers such as pollen or pollution, putting them at risk of a potentially life-threatening asthma attack.”
Asthma UK urges physicians and asthma sufferers to check what medication they’re currently taking, and those who are prescribed only the long-acting inhaler should immediately take the preventative treatment and drug, as well.
In addition, asthmatics are also at risk because they rely too much on short-term reliever inhalers to deal with their constricted breathing. Health professionals may be lacking in advising these patients on how to keep their condition under control.
Asthma UK also warns physicians and patients that any asthma sufferer who uses a blue colored reliever inhaler three times a week, or is prescribed 12 inhalers a year, needs to have their treatment reviewed.
The charity’s research is based on the findings from 520 surgeries. This recent investigation backs up previous research that showed family doctors’ failure to prescribe the correct medication is a contributing factor as to why the United Kingdom has the third highest death rate in Europe from asthma.
Nearly 5.4 million Britons have the chronic lung disease, asthma. That’s more people with asthma than in any other European country. Asthma kills nearly 1,250 people a year in the UK, including sufferers who do not have a severe form of the chronic lung disease.
The Telegraph reports a comment made by Kay Boycott, Asthma UK’s chief executive.
“It is simply unacceptable that the lives of people with asthma are being put at risk because of unsafe prescribing. The UK has some of the highest mortality rates for asthma in Western Europe and the levels of unsafe prescribing identified in our report today must be stopped.”
In 2014, the Royal College of Physicians conducted a major inquiry into asthma deaths in Britain. They found that the prescription and use of medicines as key factors.
They looked at 189 patients who had been on short-acting relievers when they died. Of 165 patients whose prescriptions were known, 65 had been prescribed the inhaler more than 12 times in the twelve months before their death.
The Royal College of Physicians reported, “Those prescribed more than 12 reliever inhalers were likely to have had poorly controlled asthma.” They recommended such patients should undergo an urgent review of their asthma control.
According to American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, an estimated 300 million people worldwide suffer from asthma, with 250,000 annual deaths attributed to the disease.
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