A new resource is being launched by leading respiratory groups today, to guide people with severe asthma on how to access their vital asthma treatments closer to home amid any disruptions caused by the Coronavirus pandemic.
Led by Asthma Australia, the resource called ‘Supporting the continuity of asthma care for patients with severe asthma during the Coronavirus pandemic’ has been developed in collaboration with the National Asthma Council Australia and NPS MedicineWise, with support from the Thoracic Society of Australia and New Zealand and industry leaders.
The resource seeks to support the health of severe asthma patients by ensuring they have a practical guide which helps them navigate treatment options locally, under a shared care model between their respiratory specialist, local GP and community pharmacist.
CEO of Asthma Australia Michele Goldman said access to severe asthma treatments had become an issue for some with the quick onset of the Coronavirus and subsequent changes to usual treatment services in some hospital clinics.
“It’s prompted respiratory groups to come together and combine all the known options into one resource, to make it easy for people to know how they can get their treatment locally to stay safe,” she said.
Ms Goldman added that industry and the medical sector were onboard in supporting their resource, “We’re all in this together, and we are here to help people with severe asthma to stay safe and well during the Coronavirus pandemic.”
The resource contains important information for people with severe asthma who receive an injectable form of a drug known as a biologic (monoclonal antibody).
Biologic therapies are prescribed to treat eligible severe eosinophilic asthma patients and are usually administered by specialist teams in a hospital setting on a fortnightly to eight weekly basis.
Due to risks of the Coronavirus, specialist clinics have needed to redirect treatment options for their regular severe asthma patients to local GPs.
Understanding that GPs may need to administer various biologics therapies to severe asthma patients for the first time, Asthma Australia, with support from the National Asthma Council, has led the development of an additional information resource for both general practice and pharmacy.
“We know from experience with other acute viral infections that, if infected, people with asthma are at greater risk than the general community,” said Ms Siobhan Brophy, Chief Executive Officer, National Asthma Council Australia.
“It is critical to establish optimal asthma control for patients during the COVID-19 pandemic, that includes helping them navigate through treatment access and administration during this unprecedented time.
“The new resource will be a handy guide for our health professionals to know what they can do top support patients with severe asthma to continue monoclonal antibody treatments in the new system,” Ms Brophy said.
‘Supporting the continuity of asthma care for patients with severe asthma during Coronavirus pandemic’ resources for patients and health professionals can be accessed via www.asthma.org.au/severeasthma and https://www.nationalasthma.org.au/news/2020/covid-19-and-your-asthma-patients
If people receiving severe asthma treatments have further questions, they are directed to call their specialist in the first instance, followed by 1800 ASTHMA.