The National Asthma Council will hold a free webinar for all Australian healthcare professionals, to launch the new Australian Asthma Handbook and Asthma guidelines.
The council’s asthma guideline committee will take the nation’s doctors through the new guidelines and answer questions on how the changes are likely to affect asthma management and patients, and how they can be implemented.
Up to now only a draft form of the handbook (AAH 2.1) has been released. NAC says the formal launch webinar will provide an opportunity for healthcare professionals to ask informed questions on the formal new handbook, particularly around implementation of some of the key changes.
The finalisation of the guidelines has taken a lot longer than previously estimated, in part because of the disruption to the consultation process caused by COVID.
The draft handbook was released in part to address a new PBS listing of budesonide-formoterol , a move that has caused some controversy among respiratory specialists, some of whom see the change as a failure to educate patients and GPs about daily prevention.
The new PBS listing for budesonide-formoterol used as-needed is restricted to patients with mild asthma at step 2 of the AAH. Importantly, regular ICS with as-needed SABA remains an important treatment option for these patients and there are no changes to the pharmacotherapy options in the other 4 steps of the AAH.
The PBS listing does not mean “all adults and adolescents with asthma” should be on Symbicort PRN. It adds to ‘Step 2’ treatment options for the treatment of mild asthma (along with regular preventer therapy). It is important to remind people that regular preventer therapy continues to be reimbursed and remains an important treatment approach for mild, moderate and severe asthma.
The NAC webinar organisers already have a big list of questions from attendees at two preview events where the preview version was discussed: an Optimum Patient Care webinar on the topic held in early June and a webinar by committee member Professor Peter Wark held in May.
The webinar already has over 600 registrants and organisers expect over 1000.