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Children With Asthma Get More Help To Breathe Easy

Children With Asthma Get More Help To Breathe Easy -- PHARMAC

Children with asthma having difficulty using existing puffer-style inhalers have been given good news, following PHARMAC announcing it will fully fund an asthma device that is easier for them to use.

After consultation with doctors, patient groups and the pharmaceutical industry on an agreement reached with Air Flow, a subsidiary company of the Asthma and Respiratory Foundation of New Zealand, PHARMAC has agreed to fund a new spacer device, which helps children take their asthma medication.

Under the agreement, PHARMAC will fund the spacer (brand name Space Chamber) with a child’s silicone mask, while Air Flow has agreed to reduce the price of its peak flow meters (Breath-Alert).

PHARMAC Medical Director Dr Peter Moodie says the device will enable children to inhale the dose of medication more gradually, which will suit those who have difficulty in using a puffer.

“Asthma affects one in six New Zealanders and PHARMAC supports moves that allow people with asthma, in this case children, access to convenient and easy to use devices. Clinicians have told us that they have a preference for this type of spacer and we are pleased that we can fund it. Children are not always good at taking medication and this device comes with a mask to ensure the correct dosage is delivered.”

Dr Moodie says it is important children feel comfortable using their asthma medication when they need it, and for some children the puffer has been an impediment.

Spacers are specially designed tubes. Patients put a puff of asthma medicine into it and then breathe in through a mouthpiece or use a mask. A peak flow meter is a small plastic tube with a measuring gauge along the side. Patients blow into it to find out how asthma is affecting their lungs. It is a device used by many patients as part of their asthma management plans, which tell them what to do in the event of deteriorating control of their asthma.


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