Pregnant women with asthma are recommended to maintain optimal therapeutic management during pregnancy. Uncontrolled, symptomatic asthma may increase the risk of adverse peri-natal outcomes; thus adequate regular anti-asthmatic treatment must be given to provide optimal asthma control during pregnancy. However, doubts about the safety of asthmatic drugs can affect pregnant asthmatic patients’ drug compliance. The aim of this study was to assess behavioral differences in drug compliance among pregnant asthmatic patients.
Thirty two asthmatic and 121 healthy pregnant women were enrolled in the study. Structured face-to-face interviews were conducted after delivery. The interviews included disease characteristics, drug compliance and patients’ own perspective for asthma status prior to and during pregnancy. In addition, medical and pregnancy history, pregnancy complications and outcomes, and newborn characteristics were recorded.
In our study group the rates of hospitalization, emergency room visits and systemic steroid use in the year before pregnancy were 13%, 46.9% and 18.8%, respectively. The rate of regular asthma medication use was only 32% at that period and increased to 44% during pregnancy. However, hospitalization, emergency room visits, systemic steroid usage rates remained unchanged and according to patients’ own evaluations, 44% of asthmatics pointed out that their asthma had worsened during pregnancy. No statistically significant difference was detected in terms of pregnancy/labour complication between asthmatic and non-asthmatics.
Contrary to some previous studies, in our study regular use of asthma drugs increased during pregnancy. The uncontrolled condition of their asthma before and during pregnancy and the idea that their asthma worsened during pregnancy might force the patients to use medication more regularly.