Investigating the temporal relationships between symptoms and nebuliser adherence in people with cystic fibrosis: A series of N-of-1 observations

Rosie Martin, Madelynne Arden, Jenny Porritt, Martin Wildman, Felix Naughton

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Treatment adherence in adults with cystic fibrosis (CF) is poor. One of the reasons identified for lack of adherence to nebulised treatments is that patients may not experience any immediate relief in their symptoms or notice changes as a result of taking their treatment, thus many report that they do not perceive there to be consequences of non adherence. The aim of the study was to investigate the temporal relationships between symptoms and adherence to nebulised treatments in adults with CF using an N-of-1 observational design. Six participants were recruited for a six-week period during which time they completed a daily online respiratory symptom questionnaire. Adherence to treatment was measured throughout the duration of the study using an eTrack (R) nebuliser that logged date and time of treatments taken. Data generated from each participant was analysed separately. There were significant relationships between pain and adherence for three participants, tiredness and adherence for one participant and cough and adherence for one participant. For all of these findings, the symptom and adherence were experienced on the same day. Extending the monitoring period beyond six weeks may provide increased insight into the complex relationship between symptoms and adherence in CF.

Original languageEnglish
Article number22
Number of pages12
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 21 Jan 2020


  • Adherence
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Ecological momentary assessment
  • N-of-1

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