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Allergy Rhinol (Providence). 2011 Jan;2(1):33-5. doi: 10.2500/ar.2011.2.0002.

Assessment of synthetic glucocorticoids in asthmatic sputum.

Abstract

Nonadherence with anti-inflammatory treatment is a frequent cause of continued symptoms in asthmatic patients. Clinical assessments including patient-reported medication administration may provide the asthma specialist incomplete information regarding actual adherence to anti-inflammatory medications. The objective of this report was to describe the first case where adherence to inhaled asthma therapy was assessed by direct analysis of glucocorticoids in induced sputum. The patient's blood, urine, and sputum were tested for synthetic corticosteroids using mass spectrometry. To evaluate a clinical suspicion of poor adherence, sputum, urine, and blood were used to assess for current compliance to medication use. We report a case where asthma specialists attributed poorly controlled asthma to nonadherence to medical therapy. After modification of the medical regimen, adherence with oral and inhaled steroids was assessed-via examination of the urine, blood, and sputum. Direct analysis of glucocorticoids in sputum is feasible and in theory could provide a novel tool to document current medication adherence. Concomitant assessment of glucocorticoids and eosinophils in the same induced sputum specimen could provide insight into possible steroid resistance in select referral patients with difficult asthma.

KEYWORDS:

Adherence; asthma; budesonide; drug monitoring; fluticasone propionate; methylprednisolone; prednisolone; prednisone; steroid dependent; steroids

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