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Feature Article

Reducing the burden of severe asthma

MATTHEW FANNING, JOHN UPHAM

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© IDEA STUDIO/SHUTTERSTOCK.COM MODEL USED FOR ILLUSTRATIVE PURPOSES ONLY

Abstract

Advanced therapies such as monoclonal antibodies improve the symptoms of severe asthma. However, the basic principles of asthma management such as optimising medication adherence, improving inhaler technique and treating comorbidities are still important.

Key Points

  • Severe asthma carries a high burden for affected patients and is often under-recognised.
  • When standard inhaler therapies do not appear to be working, it is important to review the diagnosis and pay close attention to inhaler technique, adherence and management of comorbidities.
  • New monoclonal antibodies targeting immunoglobulin E and eosinophils are now available for severe asthma and in selected patients these can markedly reduce exacerbations and oral corticosteroid use.
  • In patients with a history of frequent exacerbations, high oral corticosteroid use and poor lung function, consider specialist referral.

Figures

© IDEA STUDIO/SHUTTERSTOCK.COM MODEL USED FOR ILLUSTRATIVE PURPOSES ONLY
© IDEA STUDIO/SHUTTERSTOCK.COM MODEL USED FOR ILLUSTRATIVE PURPOSES ONLY