Inhalers dispensed inappropriately

Corticosteroid inhalers are being inappropriately prescribed to thousands of Australians with common coughs and respiratory tract infections, research suggests.

Although the devices are intended primarily for ongoing use in asthma and COPD, a study found more than 50,000 corticosteroid inhalers were dispensed in Australia in 2008 as one-off prescriptions, together with an antibiotic, to patients who appeared not to have chronic airway disease.

These prescriptions peaked in the winter months, found the study, presented this week at the