Perceptions, attitudes, and behaviors of short-acting beta2 agonist users: an Australian cross-sectional community pharmacy-based study

Elizabeth Azzi*, Vicky Kritikos, Matthew Peters, David Price, Biljana Cvetkovski, Pamela Srour Alphonse, Sinthia Bosnic-Anticevich

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Background: High use of short-acting beta-2-agonist (SABA) medication is a significant problem. Attitudes and perceptions toward asthma of over-the-counter (OTC) reliever users are unknown. The study aimed to describe the asthma attitudes, perceptions, medication knowledge and information gathering behavior of people with asthma with recent high SABA use (i.e. SABA use > twice a week in the last 4 weeks) and compare them to people with asthma with no recent high SABA use. Method: A real-world cross-sectional observational study in Australian community pharmacies was conducted; surveying patients ages ≥ 16 years requesting SABA medication OTC. Data collected included; demographics, medication usage, asthma control, asthma-related perceptions and behaviors. Data were summarized by using descriptive analyses. Results: 375 participants completed the survey, 73.9% were high SABA users. Of the 375, 90.4% reported that their asthma symptoms were controlled or somewhat controlled and 56.0% felt that their asthma was not serious. However, only 17.6%, had controlled asthma according to GINA-defined criteria. High SABA users tended to be more anxious about their asthma and worried about its impact in the future (50.5% vs. 28.6%, p < 0.001). High SABA users were more likely to agree with the statements suggesting that asthma impacted on activities of daily living (46.6% vs. 16.3%, p < 0.001); were socially conscious about their asthma and more likely to feel embarrassed carrying (21.3% vs 9.2%, p = 0.007) and using (29.2% vs 18.4%, p = 0.036) their asthma inhaler. Conclusion: This study revealed the extent of uncontrolled asthma and uncovered an anxious and socially conscious group of OTC SABA users. There is a need to better understand patient perceptions and their relationships to high-SABA use, to ensure targeted educational interventions are developed and implemented.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)178-188
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Asthma
Issue number1
Early online date3 Nov 2020
Publication statusPublished - 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • education
  • management/control
  • Quality of life
  • treatment


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