New research suggests as many as seven out of ten Australians with asthma aged over twelve years may be prescribed too much preventer medicine.
From the 2021 Census, we know that over two million Australians have asthma. It is one of the three most common long-term health conditions in Australia. Using medicines wisely is important to live well with asthma.
In the latest Australian Prescriber, Professor Helen Reddel and coauthors from the Woolcock Institute of Medical Research write about finding the lowest effective dose to control asthma.
‘There are lots of reasons why you may be using a higher dose of asthma preventer medicine than you need,’ said Professor Reddel.
‘If your asthma has been stable for more than three months, check with your doctor,’ she suggests. ‘It may be possible to reduce the dose.
‘This can sometimes save you money. Providing your treatment is still preventing asthma flare-ups, it can also lower the chance of uncommon side effects like cataracts and brittle bones.’
‘With asthma, it is not a case of “one size fits all”. The medicines and doses needed are personalised for each patient,’ she said.
‘For example, if you have very mild asthma, you may not need to take a preventer medicine regularly.
‘There are new Australian guidelines about a puffer that you can use only when you have symptoms, that relieves symptoms and also includes a preventer medicine.
‘Do not stop taking preventer medicine without medical advice. Your doctor can check your asthma medicines and update your asthma action plan,’ said Professor Reddel.