Media Releases

Asthma Council welcomes a fresh approach to mild asthma

1 Aug 2019

The National Asthma Council Australia (NAC) has welcomed the TGA registration of budesonide/formoterol as reliever therapy for adults with mild asthma, announced yesterday.

Budesonide/formoterol has had a label extension through the TGA and is now registered for all severities of asthma, including for use as anti-inflammatory reliever therapy in adults and adolescents with mild disease. This change in indication for asthma applies to both the Symbicort Turbuhaler and Symbicort Rapihaler devices.

NAC CEO Siobhan Brophy says the NAC has been following recent studies and international recommendations around as-needed budesonide/formoterol and treatment options for mild asthma with great interest. She says the TGA approval is an essential first step in considering whether the international developments could be implemented locally. 

‘The NAC is currently working on how this treatment fits in the Australian context for the next Australian Asthma Handbook update for the treatment of mild asthma in adults and adolescents. As always, the Australian Asthma Handbook deliberations utilise well-established and rigorous protocols to determine recommendations for inclusion, and TGA approval provides a sure footing for these deliberations.’

‘Any changes to guideline recommendations during the resultant update will be carefully and widely communicated to health professional and patient communities, but I urge all health professionals to subscribe to our newsletter to ensure they remain up-to-date with all Handbook changes,’ says Ms Brophy.

Ms Brophy says the recommendations have stirred much innovative thinking around asthma management internationally, including speculation on the future of short-acting beta antagonist (SABA). As stated in the Australian Asthma Handbook, SABA has a well-established role as a reliever alongside the use of a regular inhaled corticosteroid preventer for most adults and adolescents with asthma.

‘SABA remains an essential rescue medication, including its use for asthma first aid in the community and acute asthma treatment in emergency settings,’ she says.

For adults and adolescents relying on reliever treatment alone, experiencing symptoms more than twice a month indicates the need for a regular preventer. The use of SABA alone is not best-practice.

Recommendations from the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee on subsidisation of the new treatment approach are expected in late August.

Ms Brophy emphasised that the new treatment approach and potential recommendations applied only to adults and adolescents aged 12 years and over. For recommendations on management of asthma in children up to 12 years, clinicians should refer to the Australian Asthma Handbook, which included a major update of paediatric advice in version 2.0 published in March.

NAC will continue to support GPs, nurses and pharmacists’ clinical skills and development through the Australian Asthma Handbook, its continuing professional education program and a range of practitioner and patient resources available at

Media enquiries

For further information or an interview with a National Asthma Council Australia spokesperson, please contact:
Lelde McCoy, The Reputation Group
Mobile: 0417362768
Email: [email protected]