The National Asthma Council Australia (NAC) is working closely with leading asthma experts to update its Australian Asthma Handbook following the TGA registration of Symbicort Turbuhaler and Symbicort Rapihaler as a reliever therapy for adults and adolescents with mild asthma in August this year.
NAC Chief Executive Siobhan Brophy says the NAC is using its well-established and rigorous processes to make sure any recommendations around as-needed medications are the right fit for Australian patients, adding that any changes to guideline recommendations will be carefully and widely communicated to both health professional and patient communities in early 2020.
‘We’re also mindful that the cost of asthma treatments can put a real strain on the budgets of the two and a half million Australians living with this chronic condition, so we’re closely following the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC) considerations of potential subsidisation of these treatments,’ she says. The PBAC will consider a resubmission on Symbicort soon and release their recommendations in December.
While the new therapy shows much promise, the Asthma Council stresses that existing relievers like Ventolin and Asmol have a well-established role for most adults and adolescents with asthma.
‘Reliever puffers are still an essential rescue medication, particularly for asthma first aid in the community and emergency settings, however we know that using these medicines alone isn’t always the best approach’ she says.
‘Patients shouldn’t avoid taking reliever puffers if they need it, but we would always advise anyone using a reliever puffer regularly to talk to their GP or pharmacist to ensure they’re on the right treatment for their asthma,’ she says.
For useful resources on staying healthy and safe with asthma or to watch our series of video tutorials demonstrating inhaler technique and tips check out NAC’s website.