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Digital Inhaler Interest Growing Among Patients With Severe Forms of COPD or Asthma

Matthew Gavidia
Patients with severe persistent asthma or severe COPD, with additional inclinations toward anxiety or panic disorders, exhibited an increased interest in using digital inhalers, based off 2 Health Union condition-specific surveys.
Patients with severe persistent asthma or severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) with additional inclinations toward anxiety or panic disorders exhibited an increased interest in using digital inhalers, based off 2 Health Union condition-specific surveys called COPD In America 2019 and Asthma In America 2019.

The first digital inhaler became FDA approved late last year, which came with an introductory limited release that is set to expand in 2020. The novel device provides patients with the ability to capture inspiratory data through a companion mobile app and identify trends in their treatment over time. Currently, data from both studies reveal that 78% of asthma respondents (n = 1018) and 75% of COPD respondents (n = 2007) are using standard short-acting (rescue) and long-acting (maintenance) inhalers for their respiratory disease management.

Survey analyses were conducted on predominantly Caucasian women (Asthma: 92% female, 89% Caucasian, average age of 56.5; COPD: 70% female, 95% Caucasian, average age 67.7). Of the total surveyed COPD and asthma populations, nearly half exhibited high interest in using a digital inhaler. Those interested in digital inhalers were also likely to agree with or express interest in certain survey questions:
  • Are currently diagnosed with severe persistent asthma or severe COPD
  • Are diagnosed with anxiety or panic disorders in addition to their respiratory disease
  • Feel like they have tried everything possible to manage symptoms; but still not in control
  • Use mobile apps to learn about or manage their condition
  • Are interested in participating in future clinical trials
For patients who expressed moderate or no interest in digital inhalers, concerns were attributed to privacy issues, related costs for patients with COPD, and a general disinterest.

Those diagnosed with severe forms of COPD or asthma, with an added diagnosis of anxiety or panic disorders, reveal distinct characteristics of patients who would be interested in digital inhaler usage. The ability to feel a sense of control over their condition is an underlying theme behind the findings, as these patients deal with increased exacerbations. Allowing patients to join physicians in tracking the accuracy of their inhaled medication integrates them into their healthcare treatment and heightens knowledge of their overall progress.

The pursuit of more information and treatment options tailored toward each subset’s diagnosis were additional takeaways found. The interest in technology through social media for patients with severe asthma, COPD-specific websites for patients with severe COPD, and mobile apps for both subsets showcase a desire to learn about or manage their condition. The willingness to participate in future clinical trials further indicates a dedication to finding effective solutions for COPD and asthma communities.

 
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