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”.
MBS Review releases draft recommendations for
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:
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.
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.
Subsume item 11509 (laboratory based spirometry) into current item 11512 (more complex laboratory based spirometry).
Introduce enhanced quality requirements for all spirometry items.
Consultation on the draft report and recommendations is open until 7 October.
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.
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.