Adherence to treatment remains important for successful asthma management. Knowledge about asthma medication use and adherence in real-life offers opportunities to improve asthma treatment in children. Objective: To describe prescription patterns, adherence and factors of adherence to drugs in children with asthma. Methods: Population-based cohort study in a Dutch primary care database (IPCI), containing medical records of 176,516 children, aged 5-18 years, between 2000 and 2012. From asthma medication prescriptions, age, gender, seasonal and calendar year rates were calculated. Adherence was calculated using medication possession ratio (MPR) and ratio of controller to total asthma drug (CTT). Characteristics of children with high-vs.-low adherence were compared. Results: The total asthma cohort (n = 14,303; 35,181 person-years (PY) of follow-up) was mainly treated with short-acting β2-agonists (SABA; 40 users/100 PY) and inhaled corticosteroids (ICS; 32/100 PY). Median MPR for ICS was 56%. Children with good adherence (Q4 = MPR > 87%) were younger at start of ICS, more often visited specialists and had more exacerbations during follow-up compared to children with low adherence (Q1 = MPR < 37%). Conclusion: In Dutch primary care children with asthma were mainly prescribed SABA, and ICS. Adherence to ICS was relatively low. Characteristics of children with good adherence were compatible with more severe asthma, suggesting that adherence is driven by treatment need or intensity of medical follow-up.

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Pediatric Allergy and Immunology
Department of Medical Informatics

Engelkes, M., Janssens, H., de Jongste, J., Sturkenboom, M., & Verhamme, K. (2016). Prescription patterns, adherence and characteristics of non-adherence in children with asthma in primary care. Pediatric Allergy and Immunology, 27(2), 201–208. doi:10.1111/pai.12507