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Proper use of inhaler avoids dependency

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Jakarta, IO – According to 2019 data from the “Global Burden of Disease”, 262 million people worldwide suffer from asthma. Asthma, which may attack anyone, regardless of age or gender, is characterized by chronic inflammation of the respiratory tract. Its symptoms include difficulty breathing, constriction of the throat, and excessive production of mucus. 

The Indonesian Ministry of Health reports, 12 million people, or 4.5% of total population in Indonesia, suffer from the condition (2020 data). 37% of these asthma patients are given short-acting beta-agonist (SABA) inhalers, which are more affordable than controlling drugs, despite excessive use running the risk of dependency, which in turn worsens the attack and necessitates even more use of the inhaler. 

“The Government is doing its part to improve the health of asthma patients by a lifestyle change approach, in its ‘Stop Dependency’ campaign. This is an important step in raising the awareness of asthma patients and their families about the affliction.

We hope to help asthma sufferers gain a better quality of life through the program,” declared Dr. Eva Susanti, S.Kp, M.Kes, the Ministry of Health Director of Prevention and Control of Incommunicable Diseases, as the opened the “Stop Dependency: Proper Inhaler Use to Relieve Asthma” media briefing in Jakarta, last Wednesday (10/5/2023). 

During the same event, dr. Mohamad Yanuar Fajar, Sp.P, FISR, FAPSR, MARS, of the Indonesian Lung Specialists Association (Perhimpunan Dokter Paru Indonesia – PDPI), emphasizes that asthma treatments using the inhaler should be adjusted to a patient’s condition. There are two types of asthma treatments: one for relief and the other for control. 

“Patients prefer SABAs like fenoterol, procaterol, salbutamol or terbutaline, because they bring quicker relief than anti-inflammatory inhalers whose active ingredient is inhaled corticosteroid (ICS).

In fact, routine SABA usage for even 1-2 consecutive weeks runs a high risk of diminishing marginal efficacy of the drug, which can impel a patient to increase usage. Asthma is an inflammation, while SABA does not have anti-inflammatory effect. It only expands the respiratory tract temporarily, which means that the relief effect is also temporary,” dr. Yanuar pointed out. 

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