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Parents need detailed advice about montelukast

ABC's 7.30 program recently reported on behavioural changes in children taking the asthma drug montelukast (available as generic tablets under various brand names and as Singulair).

Professor Adam Jaffé, respiratory paediatrician and head of paediatrics at the University of NSW, says 'Researchers have been investigating this issue for many years and have not come up with a conclusive answer. Nonetheless, there is a potential association. Doctors should talk to parents about the possible side-effects, carefully monitor children taking montelukast and be ready to stop the treatment if there are any concerns”.

Refer to the Guide to preventers: montelukast section of the Australian Asthma Handbook website for prescribing information.

MBS Review releases draft recommendations for
spirometry items

The Thoracic Medicine Clinical Committee advising the MBS Review Taskforce has released its draft report. The recommendations include changes to how spirometry testing is reimbursed in primary care.

The Committee recommends:

  1. Changes to the item descriptor for item 11506 (office-based reversibility testing) to better target its use to diagnose asthma and COPD. It is recommended that the item be available once a year and that the fee and rebate be doubled to $40 to encourage use in primary care.
  2. Introduction of a new item for pre o­r post bronchodilator spirometry to be used to confirm diagnosis of COPD, assess acute asthma episodes and monitor patients with asthma, COPD and other cause of airflow limitation. The recommended fee of $20 is the same as current item 11506.
  3. Subsume item 11509 (laboratory based spirometry) into current item 11512 (more complex laboratory based spirometry).
  4. Introduce enhanced quality requirements for all spirometry items.

Consultation on the draft report and recommendations is open until 7 October.

View the full report

Rule guides antibiotic prescribing

A team of GPs has developed a way to identify which children with respiratory infections can safely be treated without antibiotics.

Dr Bastian Seidel, RACGP representative on our board said the study had the potential to influence prescribing habits with regards to antibiotics in children and teenagers.

'We can now safely identify a group that does not benefit from antibiotics at all. And we now have a tool that allows GPs to communicate that with carers much better,” Dr Seidel said.

Read the full article on The Medical Republic website.

Paying tribute to Ann Dalton of the Pharmacy Guild

At the National Asthma Council Australia, we pay tribute to Ann Dalton of the Pharmacy Guild who died recently.

We had worked with Ann for many years on various pharmacy and asthma projects. We always admired her strength of purpose and determination to promote pharmacy. 

Ann had the direct experience of a concerned parent of a child with asthma, as well as her professional role in emphasizing the important role of pharmacists in asthma care. She was always wonderful to work with-cheerful, good-natured, constructive and informed. We will miss her greatly.

Asthma Symposia 2016

Asthma Australia together with the Foundations in each state are presenting the 2016 Asthma Symposia series, incorporating research and clinical updates through to practical information and device technique.

For the first time in Australia, Associate Professor Helen Reddel and Dr Juliet Foster will be presenting the recently completed report into the experiences of patients living with severe refractory asthma.

To find out more or to register for the event in your state visit the Asthma Australia website.

Report: Improving asthma emergency department discharge processes

Asthma Foundation Queensland and New South Wales have recently published the findings of a pilot research project examining the impact of a comprehensive discharge process for people presenting to emergency departments with an asthma exacerbation.

This research project has highlighted the benefits of an evidence based, systematic and formalised process of discharge care incorporating patient follow-up, on level of asthma control and associated self-management behaviours.

Download the full report.

‘How To Treat’ features Severe Asthma

Australian Doctor has recently published two articles on ‘How to Treat: Severe Asthma’ from the Centre for Excellence in Severe Asthma. Part 1 covers diagnosis and Part 2 covers management.

Read the articles in the How to Treat section on the Australian Doctor website

Lung Health 2017

Call for Abstracts

Lung Health 2017 will be taking place in Budapest on 19-21 January, 2017 and is now calling for abstracts.
Abstracts must be submitted by 13 November 2016.

Call for Rising Stars

Exciting opportunity for two early career researchers or clinicians to present their work in front of an international audience. 
Submissions must be received by 20 October 2016.

For more information please visit the Lung Health 2017 website.

Upcoming conferences and events


GP16 - RACGP Conference for General Practitioners 
29 September to 1 October 2016
Perth, Australia
More information


Asthma Australia 
Connecting Asthma Care Symposia

13 - 26 October 2016
More information


GPCE - General Practice Conference & Exhibition
11 -13 November 2016
Melbourne, Australia
More information

Asthma and Respiratory Foundation New Zealand
24 to 25 November 2016
Auckland, New Zealand
More information
Copyright © 2016 National Asthma Council Australia, All rights reserved.

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