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Most Parents Do Not Understand Their Children's Asthma Medications, News Study Shows

May 23, 2016 10:52 PM EDT

A new research shows that most parents with a child suffering from asthma has nearly no idea about the medications being prescribed by health care providers to control their child's asthma.

The study, published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, suggests that most of the times, parents do not fully understand their health care provider's instruction for the asthma medication of their children.

For the study, researchers surveyed the parents of 740 children with probable persistent asthma through mail, telephone or in person. They then cross-referenced the result of the survey against their physician's instruction.

Health care providers reported that 77 percent of the children in the study were supposed to be taking inhaled corticosteroids, 22 percent of them should be using leukotriene antagonists, while 10 percent were instructed to take a combination of inhaled corticosteroids/long-acting beta agonists.

Surprisingly, when the researchers compared the physician's instruction to the result of the parent survey, they found that a mismatch occurred for 29 percent of the children supposed to be using inhaled corticosteroids, 10 percent of the children who were supposed to be taking leukotriene antagonists and 16 percent of the children that were instructed to take a combination of controller medications.

"A mismatch between parent and provider was more likely to happen if the parents felt that the medicine was not helping, or, conversely, if the parent believed their child did not need as much as prescribed. In addition, while only two of the five locations were able to offer the survey in Spanish, we noticed parents who self-identified as Latino were also more likely to have a mismatch," said primary author Ann Chen Wu, MD, of Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute, in a statement.

Researchers also discovered that 27 percent of the parents of children instructed to take inhaled corticosteroids every day, year round, reported to otherwise. On the other hand, 54 percent of parents with a childe supposed to be using g inhaled corticosteroids every day when asthma is active also reported a mismatch in understanding.

Researchers then recommend the development of a new method focusing its efforts in the reduction of mismatches between parent and provider intentions regarding controller medication use.

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