Study objectives: To assess compliance with home nebulized therapy in patients with COPD.
Design: Patients' home nebulizers were replaced with nebulizers that recorded the date and time of each treatment over a period of 4 weeks. Poor compliance was defined as taking <70% of the prescribed dose (or <60% for those prescribed treatments five or more times daily).
Setting: Patients were seen at the hospital COPD outpatient clinic. The compliance data obtained were recorded while they were at home.
Patients: Ninety-three patients aged 44 to 76 years (mean, 64.9 years) were recruited from the hospital nebulizer database.
Measurements: Patients completed a self-reported quality of life scale, the St. George's Respiratory Questionnaire (SGRQ), both before (SGRQ1) and after (SGRQ2) the 4-week study period to look at whether quality of life was either predictive of or subsequent to level of compliance.
Results: Data were obtained from 82 patients. Mean compliance was 57% (range, 0 to 124%). Thirty-six (44%) patients were compliant and 46 (56%) were poorly compliant. There was no difference between the two groups in age or sex distribution. Compliance was negatively correlated with the total score on the SGRQ2 (p=0.03).
Conclusion: The study shows that levels of compliance with nebulized therapy are low in a large proportion of patients with COPD and that patients with low levels of compliance report greater impairment in their quality of life.