New resource explains latest treatment options for patients with severe asthma

In Central Queensland, Sunshine Coast, Wide Bay by PHN Communications

The National Asthma Council Australia has released a new evidence-based resource for primary care health professionals to help explain the latest treatment options for patients with severe asthma.

The Monoclonal antibody therapy for severe asthma information paper was developed based on the latest available evidence and implications for practice in primary care.

The emergence of monoclonal antibody therapies has provided new options for treating patients with severe asthma whose asthma is uncontrolled despite optimised standard treatment. The therapy can reduce flare-ups, improve asthma symptoms and quality of life, and reduce corticosteroid requirements in patients with severe asthma.

Although these medications may be initiated only by certain specialists, it is important that primary care health professionals understand the role of these new medications and how their patients may benefit.

Omalizumab, mepolizumab and benralizumab are the monoclonal antibody therapies currently available for use in the treatment of people with severe asthma in Australia. They target inflammatory pathways that activate immune responses leading to airway inflammation.

Professor Peter Wark, expert panel member and respiratory physician said it was important to note that patients on monoclonal antibody therapy still required usual asthma care from their GP.

“They should be taking their preventer medicines regularly, and their GP should continue to check adherence and inhaler technique from time to time.”

The paper also incorporates recent changes to PBS criteria for monoclonal antibody therapies.  Key changes in the general criteria include that patients must either have been treated by the same specialist for at least six months (a reduction from 12 months), or have been diagnosed by a multidisciplinary severe asthma clinic team.

The Monoclonal antibody therapy for severe asthma information paper for health professionals is available to download online and order in hard copy through the National Asthma Council Australia website.

The National Asthma Council Australia has a range of patient support services and resources available. For information, visit nationalasthma.org.au.