Adherium Limited announced promising results from a clinical trial evaluating the use of Smartinhaler, its respiratory disease management tool, in children with poorly controlled asthma. Over 12 months, Smartinhaler use was seen to significantly reduce both hospital admissions and the need for oral steroids.
The study, “STAAR: a randomised controlled trial of electronic adherence monitoring with reminder alarms and feedback to improve clinical outcomes for children with asthma,” was published in the journal Thorax.
Smartinhaler is a platform that uses an electronic sensor technology, clipped to a patient’s inhaler, to record medication usage, communicate data via wireless transmission, and remind patients should they forget to take prescribed treatments.
In the STAAR clinical trial (NCT02451709), researchers at the Sheffield Children’s Hospital in the U.K. randomly assigned children with poorly controlled asthma (ages 6–16), taking inhaled corticosteroids (ICS) and long-acting β-agonists, into two groups to assess whether digital adherence monitoring could improve their outcomes.
In one group, 39 children were assigned to an active intervention, consisting of using Smartinhaler adherence monitoring, with medication reminders and feedback regarding their inhaled corticosteroid (ICS) use. In the other, 38 children were assigned to usual care with adherence monitoring alone. The trial’s primary endpoint was the Asthma Control Questionnaire (ACQ) score at 12 months. Secondary outcomes included adherence and markers of asthma morbidity.
Results revealed that adherence to prescribed medication averaged 70 percent in the intervention group of children, compared to 49 percent in the control group. And, over the 12 months, almost 50 percent of the intervention children maintained average adherence rates of more than 80 percent.
Improvement in medication adherence was associated with significant reductions in asthma exacerbations — an asthma attack marked by coughing, wheezing and trouble breathing.
“This study provides good evidence that adherence monitoring with feedback can significantly improve clinical outcomes when used in the management of children with poorly controlled asthma,” said Dr. Robert Morton, the study’s lead investigator, in a press release. “The benefits of the intervention were sustained over a prolonged period of time, and we have shown that this approach can be effectively administered in a clinically practical way. We would recommend this approach to be integrated into the standard care of children with poorly controlled asthma.”
There was no significant differences in the change in ACQ scores between the two groups, results showed. But children in the intervention group required notably fewer courses of oral steroids (courses were 53% more common in control group), had fewer hospital admissions (hospitalization rates were five times higher in the control group), and they had fewer days off from school and emergency department visits than control group children.
“The impact of adherence monitoring on the health of patients is clear and we continue to work with our partners to make it accessible to all those who would benefit,” Garth Sutherland, CEO of Adherium, concluded.