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Canadian Respiratory Journal
Volume 8 (2001), Issue 4, Pages 261-265
Original Article

The Impact of Nationally Coordinated Pharmacy-Based Asthma Education Intervention

Shelley Anne Diamond1 and Kenneth Ross Chapman2

1Pedipharm Consultants, Department of Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
2Asthma Centre of The Toronto Western Hospital and Division of Respiratory Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Copyright © 2001 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


OBJECTIVE: To assess the impact of a nationally coordinated pharmacy-based educational intervention on self-management behaviour and markers of asthma control in self-referred patients with asthma.

DESIGN: An asthma clinic day was set up by a national chain of community pharmacies whereby pharmacists used a structured questionnaire to assess asthma control and self-care among self-referred patients with doctor-diagnosed asthma. In a one-on-one counselling session, each patient's educational needs were identified and the appropriate education offered. A telephone follow-up 30 days later assessed the impact of teaching.

SETTING: Community pharmacies across Canada.

OUTCOME MEASURES: The follow-up questionnaire quantified the number of wheezing episodes or other symptoms per week, the number of night-time awakenings per week, and the frequency of use of reliever and preventive medications.

RESULTS: Of 4080 patients assessed, 22.2% used an inadequate inhaler technique, 16.4% used a short acting beta2-agonist excessively and 21.0% were not using an inhaled corticosteroid daily despite a frequency of symptoms that would suggest that it was needed. Common educational interventions included a review of inhaler technique (41.9%), a recommendation for regular inhaled corticosteroids (31.5%) and a referral to the primary care physician (21.0%). Thirty days after the educational intervention, patients reported significant decreases in the frequency of daytime asthma symptoms, the frequency of nocturnal symptoms and the frequency with which short acting beta2-agonists were used, while reporting significant increases in their use of preventive medication.

CONCLUSIONS: A brief assessment and an educational intervention in the community pharmacy can produce significant short term improvements in patient-reported symptom control and appropriate self-management behaviour.