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Respir Med. 2005 Nov;99(11):1413-7. Epub 2005 Apr 21.

How do patients use their nebuliser in the community?

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Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Strathclyde, John Anderson Building, 27 Taylor Street, Glasgow G4 0NR, UK.



Nebulised therapy is commonly used in the management of patients with asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). There are guidelines setting out standards for maintenance of the compressor and replacement and care of consumables. This study surveys patients using nebulisers to ascertain the reported use and maintenance of the nebulisers and any side effects related to therapy.


An anonymous postal questionnaire, requesting information on nebuliser use and maintenance, and side effects was sent to 200 patients who had been maintained on nebuliser therapy and had been in contact with the nebuliser service at Glasgow Royal Infirmary within the last year.


One hundred and seventeen (58.5%) questionnaires were returned completed or partially completed for analysis. The majority of patients who replied were female (median age of 69 years). The most commonly reported diagnosis was COPD (87/117); 92/117 (79%) were smokers or ex-smokers. The most commonly reported side effects associated with treatment are dry mouth, tremor and chest tightness. The responses to questions on servicing, maintenance and replacement of consumables indicate that patients comply poorly with these activities. Additionally compliance with the prescribed drug regimen occurs in less than 50% of the patient cohort.


The results of this study indicate that compliance with instructions given on the care and maintenance of home nebulisers may be suboptimal. Additionally patients reported poorer compliance than was predicted. These areas may be improved with the introduction of a new patient information leaflet.

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