Advocating change for all people with allergy and airways diseases for 30 years




22 June 2015
United Kingdom
- Medicines

Last year’s National Review of Asthma Deaths highlighted prescribing errors in nearly half of asthma deaths in primary care (47%) in the United Kingdom. Now new analysis from EFA Member Asthma UK, based on data from over 500 UK GP practices, reveals evidence that over 22,000 people with asthma in the UK, including 2,000 children, have been prescribed medicines (long-acting reliever inhalers) in a way that is so unsafe they have a ‘black box warning’ in the USA due to the risk they pose to the lives of people with asthma. In addition, the report indicates that almost 100,000 people with asthma have been prescribed too many short-acting 

reliever inhalers (more than 12 in a year) without national clinical guidelines being followed, leaving them at risk of life threatening asthma attacks.

Asthma medication is safe, but it is dangerous to use a long-acting reliever inhaler alone (without a steroid preventer inhaler or as a combination inhaler). This is because a long-acting reliever inhaler helps to keep the airways open but does not treat the underlying inflammation. This leaves the airways of people with asthma inflamed and more likely to react to triggers such as pollen or pollution, putting them at risk of having a potentially life-threatening asthma attack. If someone with asthma is prescribed more than 12 short acting reliever inhalers in a year (using it more than 3 times each week) without seeing a doctor it is a key indicator that they are not managing their condition and that their treatment needs reviewing.

If you an asthma patient, please go through Asthma UK quiz to check if you at the risk of medical errors:

Text source:

  Author of the picture, meg.

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