Are inhaled medications appropriate in schools?

THE USE OF INHALED MEDICATIONS IN SCHOOL BY STUDENTS WITH ASTHMA

Position statement of the American Academy of Allergy and Immunology Committee on Drugs*

Students with asthma frequently have the sudden onset of asthma symptoms from a variety of causes, including exercise. In most cases, asthma can be prevented or treated by inhaled medications. For many students with asthma to function normally at school, these prescribed medications must be readily accessible to the individual. Students whose parents and physician judge that they have sufficient maturity to control the use of these inhaled medications should be allowed to retain these inhalers in their possession. School policies that require inhalers to be kept in school official’s or nurse’s offices result in an interference in the medical needs of the patient and may seriously delay treatment. Most students will not properly use their medications under these circumstances. School officials should discuss with parents or physicians of students with asthma any problems regarding appropriateness and responsibility of use of these medications. Otherwise, schools should cooperate in the best interest of the patient by permitting the student to have possession of their inhaled medication. There is no indication that these medications have any potential for abuse by students without asthma. Therefore, it should not be argued that this policy presents any danger to other students. It is reasonable to expect that the student requiring inhaled medication to be sufficiently responsible and discreet in its use to avoid drawing attention to treatment.

Therefore, we recommend that students with asthma be permitted to have in their possession inhaled medications for the treatment and the prevention of asthma symptoms when they are prescribed by that student’s physician.

* Reproduction from “The use of inhaled medications in school by students with asthma” (Committee on Drugs, American Academy of Allergy and Immunology, J. Allergy Clin. Immunol., 1989, 84(3):400) with permission from Mosby-Year Book, Inc.

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Allergy and the Environment