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Closing the million patient gap of uncontrolled asthma

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Australia’s burden of asthma requires structural reform in health care delivery

Asthma control is the principal aim of asthma management. Uncontrolled asthma impairs quality of life, increases exacerbation frequency, heightens risk of death, and is four times more costly to treat than controlled asthma. Therefore, results from a web-based Australian asthma survey are disappointing and disquieting.1

One-quarter of respondents did not regularly use asthma preventers, despite having uncontrolled asthma. Another 20% of respondents had uncontrolled symptoms even while regularly using preventers. If these figures are truly representative of the nation’s 2.3 million people with asthma, they suggest that about one million Australians have uncontrolled asthma. This is despite the fact that asthma guidelines have been available for 26 years.2,3 Fundamental reforms to providing asthma care are therefore needed. A new National Asthma Strategy is on its way, and may provide a platform for structural changes.4

The first therapeutic gap highlighted by the web-based survey was the lack of regular preventer use by many patients, despite having uncontrolled symptoms.1 These patients seemed to favour immediate symptom relief over…

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