Unmet needs in asthma treatment in a resource-limited setting: Findings from the survey of adult asthma patients and their physicians in Nigeria

  • OO Desalu
  • CC Onyedum
  • AO Adeoti
  • OB Ozoh
  • JO Fadare
  • FK Salawu
  • A Danburam
  • AE Fawibe
  • OO Adewole


Introduction: The prevalence of asthma in our society is rising and there is need for better understanding of the asthma patients’ perception and
treatment practice of physicians. The study was aimed at determining asthma attitudes and treatment practices among adult physicians and
patients in Nigeria, with the goal of identifying barriers to optimal management.

Methods: To assess asthma attitudes, treatment practices and limitations among adult physicians and patients in Nigeria, a questionnaire survey was conducted among 150 patients and 70 physicians.

Results: Majority (66.7%) of the patients reported their asthma as  moderate to severe, 42.7% had emergency room visit and 32% had admission due to asthma in the previous 12 months. Physicians and patients perceptions significantly differed in the time devoted to  educational issues (31.4% vs.18.7%) and its contents: individual  management plan (64.3% vs.33.3%), correct inhaler technique (84.0% vs.71.0%), medication side effects (80.0% vs.60.0 %) and compliance 100% of time (5.7% vs. 18.7%). Patients reported that non-compliance with medication causes increased symptoms (67.0%), exacerbations (60.0%), bronchodilator use (56.0%), urgent physician visit (52.0%) and hospitalizations /ER visits (38.7%). Asthma medication in patients caused short term (10.7%) and long term side effects (20.0%). Due to side  effects, 28.0% skipped and stopped their medications. Most physicians (85.7%) and patients (56.0%) agreed on the need for new medication options. The need for new medication in patients was strongly related to asthma severity, limitation of activities, side effects, cost and lack of satisfaction with current medication. With the exception of pulmonologists, physicians did not readily prescribe ICS and their prescriptions were not in line with treatment guidelines.

Conclusion: This study has highlighted the gaps and barriers to asthma treatment which need to be addressed to improve the quality of care in Nigeria.


Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 1937-8688