Despite relatively recent advances in our understanding of the physiopathology of asthma and the availability of highly effective controller medications, such as inhaled corticosteroids (ICS), currently many pediatric patients fail to control their asthma, especially in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Although some of these difficult-to-control asthmatic children have severe therapy-resistant asthma, most of them experience poor asthma control due to various modifiable factors, among which poor adherence to inhaled controller therapy and inadequate inhaler technique are the most common. Although electronic monitoring devices have been considered to be essential tools in identifying patients with severe therapy-resistant asthma, their high cost and low availability have currently limited their use in clinical practice. For these reasons, clinicians might consider using validated self-reported questionnaires and the weight of inhaler canisters and as alternative and valid options for assessing adherence to inhaled controller therapy. Furthermore, clinicians might consider adopting validated instruments as an objective measurement of the adequacy of inhaler technique. Although recognizing poor adherence does not automatically lead to improved adherence, it is usually an essential first step in effectively targeting adherence behavior, especially if the reasons for low or erratic compliance are explored by means of non-judgmental doctor-patient communication. These recommendations could assist in overcoming our inability to have pediatric asthmatic patients use ICS and in avoiding escalating their controller therapy toward more expensive medications, eventually reaching the use biologics. Promoting the rational and cost-effective use of asthma controller therapy could help to optimize the limited health resources in many LMICs.
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