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Asthma management needs to change: experts

Asthma management needs to change: experts - Featured Image

A survey has found a quarter of asthma sufferers don’t regularly use preventers, despite having uncontrolled asthma.

Another 20% of people continue to have uncontrolled symptoms despite using regular preventers.

It is these ‘disappointing’ results from an Australian survey that have respiratory experts worried about asthma management and prevention in Australia.

Dr Tunn Ren Tay, Professor Michael Abramson and Associate Professor Mark Hew from the Alfred Hospital and Monash University in Melbourne wrote in the Medical Journal of Australia that they hope structural changes in the upcoming National Asthma Strategy will help provide a basis for change.

Related: MJA – Deaths from childhood asthma, 2004–2013: what lessons can we learn?

They say that asthma sufferers favour immediate symptom relief rather than long term disease control, something that is reinforced by the current dispensing system.

“Relievers are readily available over the counter, but preventers require prescriptions, necessitating additional effort, time and expense,” Tay et al wrote.

Solutions include re-designing asthma medications and making preventers more accessible. The authors also propose the launch of a combined short-acting reliever and steroid preventer in a single dose.

Related: MJA – Asthma control in Australia: a cross-sectional web-based survey in a nationally representative population

“This would ensure that every dose of reliever was accompanied by a corresponding dose of preventer,” the authors wrote.

The authors also proposed increased education and rebates could help asthmatics better manage their symptoms.

For the most complex patients, dedicated “difficult asthma” centres could provide additional benefits for outpatient respiratory consultations.

“Asthma management in Australia has come a long way, but innovative strategies are needed to bridge the remaining gaps,” the authors concluded.

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