Overuse of inhaler
The Asthma Society of Ireland is today releasing research conducted by hmR Ireland which looks at the over-reliance on reliever inhaler medication by people with asthma in each county in Ireland. Reliever inhalers, which most people will recognise as the blue inhalers, if over-used, are strongly linked with severe asthma exacerbations and asthma related deaths.
Using three or more reliever inhalers a year indicates a person is at risk of a severe asthma exacerbation while the use of twelve or more a year is an indication someone is at risk of an asthma-related death.
In the year of diagnosis, Leitrim had the highest rate of reliever inhaler overuse in the country at 24%. In the year after diagnosis, that number doubled to 52% of people who overused their reliever inhaler. By year five, 51% of people with asthma in Leitrim were overusing their reliever inhaler.
The results also found:
Three in ten use more than 12 reliever inhalers a year, putting them at risk of an asthma-related death
Seven in ten are using more than three reliever inhalers a year, putting them at risk of an asthma attack (or some form of asthma exacerbation)
In the year after diagnosis, 30% children aged 0-17 are overusing their reliever inhaler
In the year after diagnosis, 60% people aged 50 or over are overusing their reliever inhaler
Sarah O’Connor, CEO of the Asthma Society of Ireland, said: “Today’s hmR research revealed that a huge proportion of people in all age groups are overusing their reliever inhalers in every county throughout Ireland, putting them at risk of an asthma severe exacerbation or asthma related death.
"If you are using your reliever inhaler several times each week, you are over-reliant on it and your asthma is not controlled. The exception to this is people with asthma who participate in sport/exercise, where it is still recommended you use your reliever inhaler prior to warming up before exercising."