2022 – ‘Smart inhalers’ could help diagnose and treat asthma — if used

May 31, 2022 – After years of intermittent and interrupted treatment for occasional asthma symptoms, Brian Bloom descended in November 2020. The retired carpenter felt shortness of breath and wheezing while riding a bike. At home he was struggling with household chores.

“I had a hard time walking up the stairs just to do the laundry,” says Bloom, who lives in the Chicago suburb of Palatine.

To get things under control, he saw an allergist and started taking medication regularly—two pills a day, two nasal sprays, inhaled corticosteroids, plus an albuterol inhaler for flare-ups.

Inhalers have an additional feature: an electronic screen that connects to the device and automatically keeps track of where and when the medication is used. Bluetooth sends this information to an app on a patient’s cell phone and to a dashboard where the medical team can see at a glance when symptoms appear and how regularly they take the drug – resulting in the devices often being referred to as “smart inhalers”. will. “

At this year’s American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology (AAAAI) conference in Phoenix, Arizona, researchers demonstrated how digital monitors can help diagnose and treat hard-to-control asthma, potentially reducing the need for oral steroids or biological treatments.

Although electric screens have been on the market for years, their adoption has been slow due to uncertainties surrounding insurance coverage, liability, management, and data optimization. A recent study said that the cost of these devices ranges between $100 and $500, but this price depends on many things such as: B- Insurance.

About 17% of adult asthmatics suffer from “hard-to-control” asthma, which means they limit their activity because they have difficulty breathing and take reliever medications several times a week.

But research shows that correcting inhalation technique and adherence to medication use can reduce it by only 17% to 3.7%, says Blooms Allergist Giselle Mosnaim, of NorthShore University HealthSystem. Masneim spoke at a digital monitoring conference session on digital technologies for asthma management.

She says learning from more than 5,000 asthma patients “has shown that massive errors in inhaler technique lead to worse asthma outcomes and exacerbate asthma”. He also explains that despite new equipment and new technology, “we still have bad inhalation technology.”