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Do you know when the inhaler is empty?


Background Medication review is recommended at asthma appointments. The presence of propellant in the metered dose inhalers (MDIs) makes it challenging to identify when the inhaler is empty. The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in move towards more virtual monitoring of care. We aimed to evaluate if patients identify when the inhaler is empty and the method of inhaler disposal.

Methods Prospective, multicentre quality improvement project. Data collected from children with asthma and other respiratory conditions.

Outcome measures Children/carers attending hospital were asked how they identify an empty salbutamol inhaler; dose counters in the preventer inhalers and disposal practices were reviewed.

Results 157 patients recruited. 125 (73.5%) patients deemed an empty inhaler as either full/partially full. 12 of 66 (18.2%) preventer inhalers with a dose counter were empty. 83% disposed their inhalers in a dustbin.

Conclusions Patients cannot reliably identify when their MDI is empty. There is an urgent need for improving inhaler technology and providing appropriate guidance on how to identify when an MDI is empty.

  • Paediatrics
  • Respiratory Medicine
  • Data Collection

Data availability statement

Data are available upon reasonable request. No data are available.

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