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J Allergy Clin Immunol Pract. 2017 May - Jun;5(3):764-770. doi: 10.1016/j.jaip.2016.09.046. Epub 2016 Nov 30.

What Really Happens in the Home: The Medication Environment of Urban, Minority Youth.

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Asthma and Allergy Center, Bloomingdale, Ill; Department of Pediatrics, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, Ill. Electronic address:
Department of Preventative Medicine, Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, Ill.
Department of Pediatrics, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, Ill.



Asthma disproportionately affects minority youth. Understanding the home medication environment and its relation to medication adherence can shape interventions to improve health outcomes.


The objective of this study was to describe the asthma medication environment in the homes of urban minority youth and to determine predictors of medication use and technique in this population.


Baseline data from 2 cohorts of minority youth with asthma in Chicago were combined for cross-sectional analysis. Bilingual research assistants (RAs) collected data in the home. RAs asked caregivers and children to self-report medications using pictures and observed children's asthma medications and inhaler technique.


The sample contained 175 mainly Latino youth (85.6%) ranging from 5 to 18 years old. Most were on public insurance (80%) and had uncontrolled asthma by self-report (89.7%). Only 27.4% had a spacer, 74.9% had a quick relief medicine, and 48.6% had any controller medicine. RA observations of controllers agreed with children (36%) and parental self-report (42.3%) but did not match the specific observed controllers. Children reported less parental help with medications (43%) than their parents (58.1%). One child was able to properly demonstrate 100% of the inhaler steps and 35.6% achieved >70% of inhaler steps. A better medication technique was associated with having a controller (b = 12.2, SE = 3.0, P < .0001), quick reliever (b = 8.05, SE = 3.5, P = .023), and a spacer (b = 9.3, SE = 3.54, P = .009).


This rigorous evaluation of the home medication environment of high-risk youth demonstrated that many families lack critical medications, devices, and a technique for proper management of asthma.


Asthma; Cultural competency; Health disparities; Inhaler technique; Latino; Pediatric; Puerto Rican

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