A research study recently looked at children with asthma who are sent to the Emergency Room because of worsening symptoms. Being the parent of a child with asthma, you can imagine this hits home for us. We believe most children with asthma receive appropriate emergency treatment, but what happens after the child leaves the emergency room? Do emergency room doctors prescribe some asthma medicines to youth at discharge to help prevent asthma recurrences that might bring the kids right back into the emergency room?
In the past, ER doctors might have told you to see your family doctor after discharge to get a long-term asthma prevention medication, like an inhaled steroid, but asthma guidelines have changed. ER doctors now have the ability to prescribe medications like inhaled steroids themselves. What this study found is that only a small percentage, 18%, of prescriptions actually gets filled after an ER visit.
We don’t know for certain what happened. Did the ER doctors write it? Did the patient’s family purposefully not fill it because of lack of money? This is really a conversation that we all need to have, to make sure that our ER docs are actually prescribing what we need and that we fill the prescriptions they write. We encourage you, if you have a child with asthma, to actually ask for asthma patient education and for needed medication to prevent a relapse after leaving the ER. Asthma can be an extremely dangerous and scary condition, and it’s up to us as parents, as patients, and as providers, to be fully educated.