People with asthma have been helped to gain more control of their condition by a scheme offered by community pharmacists in the South of England, a report being highlighted by Asthma UK and PSNC has shown. The Inhaler Technique Improvement Project enabled pharmacists to conduct structured reviews (called Medicines Use Reviews, or MURs) with people about their asthma and COPD medicines. During these reviews pharmacists tested how well peoples’ conditions were being managed and gave specialist asthma inhaler advice, using innovative training devices to help people to make sure they were using their inhalers correctly. Many people received two of these reviews, meaning their progress could be monitored. Pharmacists involved in the project have now provided more than 5,100 of the reviews across 206 pharmacies in the South of England, with more than 800 follow-up reviews also completed. The project built on the national pharmacy Medicines Use Review (MUR) service, which helps patients with long-term conditions to manage their medicines. As part of the reviews in the South of England, pharmacists carried out asthma control tests (ACT) or COPD assessment tests (CAT) and recorded the results in an electronic system. An analysis of the recorded data, covering 4,600 asthma control tests and 448 COPD assessment tests, has shown: In relative terms, 40 per cent of people with showed better asthma control during the time studied, while 55 per cent of COPD patients showed an improvement in symptom management. Analysis of data on emergency hospital admissions caused by asthma and COPD showed a positive association between the introduction of the pharmacy project and changes in emergency admission rates. There was evidence of improved COPD management following the pharma cy reviews– at the second review more patients achieved test scores indicating a less severe impact on their lives from COPD. There was evidence of improved asthma control between the first and second reviews – at the second review there was a 40 per cent relative increase in the number of patients achieving a test score representing good asthma control. The programme was popular, with the number of reviews being provided by pharmacies increasing.
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