Abstract

Background: The Spanish Government imposed a severe national stay-at-home order on March 2020. At this time, the asthma patients may have been particularly concerned as a high-risk vulnerable population to COVID-19, which could have increasedtheiradherence to inhaled corticosteroids (ICS). We aimed to compare this adherence PRE&POST the COVID-19 pandemic.

Methods: Adherence was determined through the electronic prescription refill rate (EPRR) with nonadherence defined as EPRR <80% and ordinal categorised into High, Medium and Low. The first 183 consecutive patients seen by a panel of recruiting doctors from three autonomous communities in northern Spain were included. The 19-month retrospective study period was divided into 7 months PRE (Sep-19 to Mar-20) and 12 months POST (Apr-20 to Mar-21).

Results: The overall mean age was 49.77 years; [Standard Deviation (SD)=17.58]. 57.9% were women . 71.6% were on an ICS/LABA regimen (1/12h), 27.9% on ICS/LABA (1/24h), and the rest on ICS alone (1/12h), with prescriptions between 0.5 and 1.0 inhalers per month. Before the pandemic (PRE), an average of 0.58 inhalers/month were refill from the pharmacy; [SD=0.33], very similar to the 0.59 inhalers/month; [SD=0.34] retrieved during the 12 subsequent months since the pandemic (POST) (p= 0.768). EPRR showed no differences (p= 0.784). When EPRR was dichotomous or ordinal categorised no differences were found either (p= 0.851 and 0.928) with a prevalence of nonadherence of 57 and 58% respectively.

Conclusions: Our results do not support increased adherence to ICS comparing before and since COVID-19 pandemic. Compliance with prescription remains suboptimal.