The latest medical and clinical research on treatment and diagnosis of asthma will be made available free of charge to doctors, pharmacists and other professionals who deal with asthma patients, via a new handbook.
The 6th edition of the Asthma Management Handbook, launched today by the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Health and Ageing, Christopher Pyne, updates the previous guidelines issued to Australian medical and health professionals.
Changes in the new edition include:
new drug therapies and their changing role, especially combination therapy with inhaled corticosteroids and a long-acting beta agonists
the Global Initiative Against Asthma classifications of asthma severity have been adopted, stressing the importance of recognising patterns of asthma
emphasis is placed on practical interventions that work, including quitting smoking, weight reduction and matching inhaler devices to the patient?s capability
diagnosis and treatment of other illnesses often suffered by asthma patients (co-morbidities), including other lung and bronchial conditions, depression, sleep apnoea and allergic conditions such as rhinitis.
Mr Pyne said National Asthma Council Australia compiled the first management handbook in 1990, as part of its role to ensure a national approach to the illness, and had since kept it up to date.
?More than 60 experts in this field have created this new edition by reviewing the latest research, assigning levels of evidence, writing, re-writing and editing – all in their ?spare? time,? Mr Pyne said.
?This very generous collaboration has made Australia an international model in terms of our approach to asthma. It has ensured that our asthma management guidelines are not only authoritative, but they are being used by GPs, in particular.
?The results can be seen in our success in treating asthma. Although it remains a very real problem for this country, asthma deaths have dropped from a peak of 964 in 1989 to the latest statistic of 311, recorded in 2004.?
Mr Pyne said approximately 2.2 million Australians were affected by asthma. Up to 16 per cent of children and 12 per cent of adults had a current diagnosis of asthma.
The Government provided $103,000 under the Asthma Management Program to fund the printing of 60,000 copies of the new edition, which will be distributed principally to respiratory, paediatric and general physicians, allergists, general practitioners, pharmacists, nurses, asthma foundations, asthma educators, students and other allied health professionals.
It is also distributed in National Asthma Council information kits, nationally and internationally.