The National Asthma Council Australia today launched the Australian Asthma Handbook V2.2 which includes new medicines and covers a number of important clinical issues for best practice asthma management in Australia.
The new edition also provides updated clinical advice on the management of exercise-induced bronchoconstriction, more detailed dosing information for single-inhaler combinations of inhaled corticosteroids and long-acting beta2 agonist combinations and updates guidance on the use of electronic cigarettes for smoking cessation.
Professor Nick Zwar, Chair of the National Asthma Council Australia Guidelines Committee, said V2.2 covers several important issues that need to be clarified to help GPs navigate the complexity of asthma management.
“The Handbook is the authoritative source of advice about asthma diagnosis and care, on everything from diagnosis to inhaler technique.
“It’s a very useful resource for GPs and other primary healthcare professionals who have a clinical question in mind and key information is readily available, supported by layers of more detailed information as needed,” he said.
Version 2.2 continues the National Asthma Council Australia’s commitment to providing practical advice for primary health care practitioners to support them in providing the best possible care for people with asthma.
The online format enables more frequent updates to the Handbook so that it remains at the forefront of asthma management, nationally and internationally and provides downloadable and accessible print-friendly alternatives.
Professor Zwar said that the National Asthma Council Australia works closely with its network in the asthma community, including GPs, primary care nurses, pharmacists, specialists and consumers, to understand clinical issues that health professionals are encountering and keep the Handbook relevant.
“Asthma management in primary care can be complex and for adults and adolescents with asthma there are now several options for ongoing asthma treatment that GPs and other primary care health professionals need to navigate.
“All these treatment regimens involve different doses, so this update of the Handbook clarifies everyday doses, how many inhalations can be taken at any one time for symptoms and the maximum number that can be taken on any one day.
“Prescribers have ready access to the evidence so they can help patients decide which option is best for them,” he said.
Professor Zwar said a major ongoing concern is about the safety of short-acting beta2 agonist relievers, particularly if used more than needed or used without a preventer that contains an inhaled corticosteroid.
“We know that many people with sub-optimally controlled asthma don’t use their inhaled corticosteroid consistently and would do far better if they understood how important this is – not just for symptoms, but to prevent potentially serious flare-ups.
“Health professionals need to keep reinforcing this message during patient check-ups and Written Asthma Action Plans are more essential than ever, because everyone’s individual treatment is different and everyone with asthma needs to know exactly what to do when they have symptoms,” he said.
Refer to the Australian Asthma Handbook for full details.
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