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Volume 19 Issue 2 June 2010

Original Research

What happens to patients who have their asthma device switched without their consent?

Pages 131-139
*Scott Doylea, Andrew Lloyda, Angela Williamsb, Henry Chrystync, Mandy Moffatd, Mike Thomasd, David Priced

a Oxford Outcomes, Seacourt Tower, Westway, Botley, Oxford, UK

b Respiratory Research Ltd, Aylsham, UK

c Pharmacy, School of Applied Sciences, University of Huddersfield, Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, UK

d Division of Primary Care, University of Aberdeen, Foresterhill Health Centre, Aberdeen, Scotland, UK

Received 18 June 2009 • Accepted 8 December 2009 • Online 19 February 2010

AIMS: To identify asthma patients who have experienced a non-consented switch (NCS) of their inhaler device and to explore the circumstances and impact of these switches. METHODS: Nineteen asthma patients who had experienced an NCS of their inhaler device were recruited to participate in qualitative, semistructured one-to-one interviews. RESULTS: All 19 participants reported a switch in their asthma inhaler without consultation or approval. There was deterioration in asthma control reported by some participants, many remained unchanged, and two reported better outcomes. Regardless of any change in asthma control, all patients expressed discontent with the NCS. Many felt it had damaged their relationship with their doctor, their confidence in their asthma medication, and their perception of control over their disease. CONCLUSIONS: These qualitative interviews highlight the need to maintain clear and open communication with patients. Switching of patients’ inhalers without their consent may diminish the self-control associated with good asthma management, leave the doctor-patient relationship damaged, increase resource utilisation, and waste medication.

Cite as: Doyle S, Lloyd A, Williams A, Chrystyn H, Moffat M, Thomas M, Price D. What happens to patients who have their asthma device switched without their consent? Prim Care Respir J 2010;19(2):131-139. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.4104/pcrj.2010.00009

Asthma, switching, inhaler devices, qualitative research, informed consent

* Corresponding author. Scott Doyle Tel: +44 (0)1865 324930 Fax: +44 (0)1865 324931 Email: scott.doyle@oxfordoutcomes.com