Amcal pharmacies will introduce an asthma inhaler technique check from 6 April
The service is an in-store consultation with a pharmacist and runs through a six-step process to educate users on how to maximise their inhaler’s benefits and reduce the chance of side effects. It is offered at no cost to consumers.
The initiative follows the publication of research showing 90% of people with asthma are using their inhalers incorrectly, increasing the risk of hospitalisation by 50%.
Amcal Senior Pharmacist James Nevile says the technique checks are necessary because so many people have been unintentionally using their inhalers incorrectly, with a study from the University of Sydney showing that even experienced long-term users are mistaken about how best to use an inhaler.
“When asthma sufferers use their inhaler incorrectly they risk complications and flare ups, are at greater risk of hospitalisation and even waste the medication, so our in-store checks are to ensure that more people understand how to use their device so that we can improve respiratory health across the board,” he says.
“The cooler months are looming, at which time asthma related doctor and hospital visits are more common, but these can often be avoided as people learn how best to use their inhaler and improve their technique overall,” Mr Nevile says.
The study found that young children, older adults, people with severe airflow limitation and people using multiple types of inhaler devices are most likely to be using their inhaler incorrectly.
To complement the free in-store technique assessment service, Amcal pharmacists will provide people with asthma with a reminder sticker for their inhaler.
“The stickers will be personalised to each patient to reflect the particular aspect of their technique they need to work on which will serve as a daily reminder to help them use it more effectively.
“There are lots of inhalers on the market, each one requiring a particular technique, so it’s understandable that people sometimes forget how to use their inhaler correctly, but we want to clear up any confusion and have people getting the maximum benefit from their medication.
“Good technique improves the health of asthmatics and means they suffer fewer symptoms, have increased lung function and reduces their medication costs.”