Asthma Week to bring relief for sufferers

Sep 1 2010

To mark the beginning of National Asthma Week (1-7 September), Hunter asthma sufferers are invited to participate in a new clinical trial that tests the effectiveness of a once-a-month medication.

Asthma is a reversible narrowing of the airways in the lungs that affects more than one in 10 Australians. Studies show that approximately 40 per cent suffer from uncontrolled asthma.

Of those, five per cent are considered to have severe, uncontrolled and refractory asthma with exacerbations that require treatment with high doses of medication or hospitalisation.

Respiratory Staff Specialist, Conjoint Professor Peter Gibson* is leading the trial that aims to bring significant relief to severe sufferers while assisting with future management of the disease.

“If successful this trial will make a significant difference to the quality of life of severe asthma sufferers,” Professor Gibson said.

”The medication we are trialling is a once-monthly administration that is added to current therapy and is expected to reduce inflammation, the number of exacerbations a patient experiences and the need for corticosteroids. This new medicine is a targeted way of dealing with inflammation in asthma, and forms part of the new approach to asthma that seeks to individualise treatment for a person’s particular problems.”

To participate in the trial,  patients should be aged 18 years and over and have had more than two exacerbations of their asthma in the last 12 months – For example, they should be using oral or systemic steroids in addition to the usual dose of asthma controller medication.

Participants are required to attend monthly appointments at the John Hunter Hospital for 12 months in addition to continuing their asthma treatment.
For more information call Dr Douglas Dorahy on 02 4921 4984 or HMRI reception on 02 4921 4030.

HMRI is a partnership between Hunter New England Health, the University of Newcastle and the community.

* Conjoint Professor Peter Gibson is a respiratory staff specialist at John Hunter Hospital and Head of theUniversity of Newcastle Respiratory Research Group and Co-Leader of the HMRI Viruses, Immunisation, Vaccines and Asthma (VIVA) program.