- Improper inhaler use could be prevalent among as much as 84% of the U.S. asthmatics population, according to new data from a study led by the University of Colorado School of Medicine and Children's Hospital Colorado and funded by digital therapeutics company Propeller Health, now a subsidiary of ResMed.
- The study, published this month in the The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice, tracked the habits of 7,558 patients four years or older using the company's electronic medication monitoring inhaler attachments, which digitally shared data on patient medication intake and the timing between inhaler "puffs."
- Just 16% of those patients followed recommended inhaler guidelines.
Approximately 8.4% of U.S. children under 18 years and 8.1% of adults 18 years and older are affected by asthma, equating to a population of more than 26 million people who may require treatment, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Propeller, a founding member of the Digital Therapeutics Alliance, sells direct-to-consumer sensor attachments in the U.S., Europe and Asia that connect to a customer's existing inhaler.
The sensor tracks medication usage as well as location data that is shared to mobile phone or desktop portals. The digital platforms then provide air quality forecasts, trigger and symptom identifications, reminders to take medication and personalized reports that can be shared with healthcare providers.
The Propeller-backed study considered that general inhaler guidelines recommend patients to exhale completely before inhaling a first puff slowly and deeply, then to hold their breath for up to 10 seconds and wait before beginning the next inhalation, a process meant to take 30 to 60 seconds.
In the study population, 84% of patients took less than 30 seconds between the first and second puff of the rescue or controller inhaler, while 67% of patients waited less than 15 seconds between inhalations. The study noted that while researchers could track timing between inhalations, they could not track depth of inhalation.
Following an acquisition announced in December, Propeller is now a part of medical equipment maker ResMed's Respiratory Care portfolio, but also continues to operate as a standalone business. The $225 million deal closed Jan. 7.
Propeller partnered with Walgreens in January to directly link to pharmacy services within a mobile app, and earlier this month announced a deal to expand its presence in Europe by partnering with Finnish pharma Orion, which said it would build a sensor in conjunction with Propeller to make its line of inhalers compatible with Propeller's digital tools.