People in Sligo, Leitrim and Donegal using an asthma reliever inhaler have among the highest rates of overuse in the first year after their diagnosis.
That’s according to the Asthma Society of Ireland, which has released research by hmR Ireland into the over-reliance on reliever inhaler medication.
Using three or more RELIEVER inhalers a year indicates a person is at risk of severe worsening of asthma while the use of 12 or more a year is an indication someone is at risk of an asthma-related death.
12,408 people in Donegal have asthma at present.
In the year of diagnosis, people in Donegal had the sixth highest rate of reliever inhaler overuse in the country at 18%.
In the year after diagnosis, that number doubled to 37% of people who overused their reliever inhaler.
By year five, Donegal had the lowest rate of inhaler overuse in the country with 43% of people with asthma overusing their reliever inhaler.
Turning to Leitrim, people there in the first year of diagnosis had the highest rate of reliever inhaler overuse in the country at 24%.
In the year after diagnosis, that number doubled to 52% of people who overused their reliever inhaler.
By year five, 51% of people with asthma in Leitrim were overusing their reliever inhaler.
Sligo had the seventh highest rate of reliever inhaler overuse in the country — at 17% — in the first year after diagnosis.
The following year, that doubled to 38% of people who overused their reliever inhaler.
The Asthma Society says that using an inhaler several times a week means a person is over-reliant on it and that their asthma is not controlled.
The society points out that the exception to this is people who participate in sport or exercise, where it it still recommended to use the inhaler before warming up.
A RELIEVER inhaler works within minutes, giving short-term improvement in symptoms.
A CONTROLLER inhaler works over a much longer duration.
The Asthma Society runs a free advice line on 1 800 44 54 64.