Text Message Reminders Prompt Kids to Take Asthma Medicine

In small study, children paid attention to texts but teens didn't

SATURDAY, Nov. 5 (HealthDay News) -- Text message reminders help children -- but not teenagers -- stick with their asthma medication schedule, a new study finds.

It's common for youngsters to forget to take asthma control medications, and missing doses can result in poor asthma control.

This small pilot study included patients ages 6 to 17 who had moderate, persistent or more severe asthma and used inhaled corticosteroids to keep their asthma under control. The participants received daily text messages reminding them to take their controller medication, and their asthma control was monitored by researchers.

Two of the seven patients showed improvement in their asthma control, and parents of children said the text messages were helpful. However, text messaging didn't improve asthma controller use among teens.

The study is slated for presentation at the annual meeting of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, Nov. 3 to 8 in Boston.

"Since teens often communicate by text message, we were surprised to see this approach did not improve the consistency in which they took their medication," allergist Dr. Jennifer S. Lee, of Women & Children's Hospital, Buffalo, N.Y., said in an ACAAI news release.

"Text message reminders help some patients take their medication more regularly. This is a pilot study, so a larger, longer term study is needed to determine if this intervention will ultimately improve asthma control," she added.

About one in 10 children in the United States has asthma and nearly 4 million have had an asthma attack in the past year, according to the ACAAI.

Research presented at meetings should be considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed medical journal.

More information

The Nemours Foundation has more about childhood asthma.

Robert Preidt SOURCE: American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, news release, Nov. 5, 2011

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