What is Severe Asthma

Severe asthma is difficult to control despite medication

Severe asthma is asthma that can’t be controlled despite the correct use of prescribed high-dose regular preventer medicines.

People with severe asthma need the highest level of recommended treatment continuously to control their asthma. They can have trouble with frequent asthma symptoms or flare-ups even when taking that level of treatment.

Severe asthma is sometimes referred to as:

  • severe refractory asthma OR
  • treatment resistant/difficult to treat asthma

People with difficult to treat or severe asthma should be referred to a respiratory specialist for assessment. It may help to discuss their treatment options to better manage their condition and help get their symptoms under control.

There are some ‘add-on’ asthma treatments and special medicines that are used for the treatment of severe asthma that need to be prescribed by a specialist once a diagnosis of severe asthma has been confirmed.

Read more about ‘Diagnosing severe asthma‘ and ‘Treating severe asthma’.

People with severe asthma experience:

  • More flare-ups
  • Increased need for visits to their GP and asthma-related hospitalisations
  • Higher annual medical costs
  • More time off work or school
  • More emotional stress due to their asthma