Community Pharmacy

Minister Simon Harris, Asthma Society and the IPU launch campaign encouraging people to get inhaler technique checked

The Minister for Health, Simon Harris, the Asthma Society of Ireland and the Irish Pharmacy Union (IPU) have launched an ‘Inhaler Technique’ awareness campaign to encourage people with asthma to ensure that they are using their inhaler device correctly. Two out of three of Ireland’s 470,000 people with asthma may be unknowingly aggravating their condition simply by not using their inhalers correctly.

Sarah O’Connor, CEO of the Asthma Society of Ireland, said: “More than one person dies every week in Ireland from asthma and 90% of these deaths are preventable. It is estimated that over half of people with asthma in Ireland are not consistently using their device correctly – leading to only a partial delivery of medication and poor symptom control.

Many people with asthma may not be aware that poor inhaler technique could be making their condition worse. We have a range of asthma technique videos available on asthma.ie – covering every device available on the Irish market. We also have videos showing people with asthma how to use their spacer, if their inhaler requires one. We encourage both people with asthma and healthcare professionals to use to ensure these videos to keep their inhaler technique is correct. This can make a huge difference to safely managing asthma and living a full life symptom free.”

The Irish Pharmacy Union is supporting the campaign through their 1,750 member pharmacies across Ireland. Throughout the month of March all IPU pharmacies will be offering free inhaler technique advice to their customers.

Daragh Connolly, President of the Irish Pharmacy Union (IPU), said, “Pharmacists, as healthcare professionals, are ideally positioned to provide advice and assistance to people with asthma to help them gain control over their condition. Having the correct inhaler technique is absolutely essential for those who have asthma to get the most out of their medicines and pharmacists are available to provide the support and advice necessary to ensure that this happens. We would encourage people with asthma to bring their inhalers to their local pharmacy and the pharmacist will be able to provide them with the practical advice they need for using their inhalers properly.

Ireland has the fourth highest incidence of asthma in the world; one in adults and one in five children have the disease. Inhalers are one of the most common devices used to treat asthma yet research shows as many as 2 in 3 people may be using their inhaler incorrectly.[i]  However, when taught the correct technique, people are able to use their inhalers more effectively with substantial benefits for their asthma control and overall health. People with asthma are advised to have the inhaler technique checked by a healthcare professional at every opportunity.

For anyone who needs advice on managing their asthma or if they are a carer for someone with asthma, the Asthma Society runs a free Joint Asthma & COPD Adviceline which users can call on 1800 44 54 64 to speak to a respiratory nurse who can help you manage your asthma and COPD.

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