Objectives: The available assessment tools to determine asthma control do not include components assessing factors that may directly affect control. Our aim was to evaluate the relationship between patient compliance, inhaler technique and the level of asthma control. Methods: Scores from the Asthma Control Test, individual inhaler device checklists and a novel questionnaire on the patient's medication regimen were used to measure control, inhaler technique and compliance, respectively, in patients with asthma attending Sultan Qaboos University Hospital, Muscat, Oman during a 3-month period. Results: All of the 218 patients were receiving inhaled steroids, either in combination with long-Acting beta agonists (86.2%) or alone. Asthma control was good in 92 (42.2%) patients; with 38 males (50%) and 54 females (38%), respectively (p=0.059). Compliance and inhaler technique were poor in 40.8% (89) and 18.3% (40) of the patients. 60% (36) of the patients with good and 59.4% (41) with partial compliance had good control while 83.1% (74) with poor compliance had poor control (p<0.001). Of the 92 patients with good control, 86 (93.5%) exhibited good inhaler techniques. In contrast, 85% (34) of the patients with poor inhaler techniques demonstrated poor control (odds ratio [OR]=5.3; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 2.05-14.8; p<0.001). A total of 93.3% (56) with good and 89.9% (62) with partial compliance demonstrated good inhaler techniques (p<0.001). In patients with good control, 35 (38%) exhibited both good inhaler techniques and compliance and 38 (41.3%) had a good technique and partial compliance. Conclusion: Patients with good inhaler techniques and compliance have better control of their asthma. Asthma control will remain suboptimal unless the reasons for this lack of control are identified, assessed and eliminated. We recommend that inhaler technique assessment and measurements of patient compliance with their prescribed treatments should be considered for inclusion in the current assessment tools.
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