Asthma in Australia 2008Header
Table of Contents | Chapter 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  | Appendix 1 2 | References |

6. Management

| Introduction | 6.1 Written asthma action plans | 6.2 Medications used to treat asthma |

Key points

Asthma action plans

  • The majority of people with asthma do not have a written asthma action plan, despite national guidelines recommending their use for the management of asthma for nearly 20 years.
  • Young men and those living in socioeconomically disadvantaged areas are less likely to possess a written asthma action plan than others.

Medications used to treat asthma

  • Drug therapy is the mainstay of asthma management. 
  • The use of almost all medications for asthma increases with age.
  • The pattern of use of asthma therapies is quite different in children compared with adults.
  • Use of inhaled corticosteroids is less common in children than in adults with asthma.
  • Most children using inhaled corticosteroids are only dispensed one prescription per year.
  • Children are more commonly prescribed the less potent formulations of inhaled corticosteroids while prescriptions for combination formulations containing long-acting beta-agonists are relatively uncommon in children.
  • Among adults, the majority of inhaled corticosteroids are prescribed in combination with long-acting beta-agonists.
  • There has been a recent reduction in prescribing the most potent formulations of inhaled corticosteroids.
  • Intermittent use of inhaled corticosteroids is the most common mode of use in adults and children, despite treatment guidelines recommending regular use in people with persistent asthma.

Introduction                     [back to top]

This chapter will review data relating to the use of effective asthma management strategies and their implementation in the Australian population. The two elements of asthma management that are discussed here are the possession of written asthma action plans and regular use of medications that control the disease and prevent exacerbations. Based on evidence accumulated in the last two decades, these represent key elements in the effective management of the condition.

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© Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2008

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