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Asthma drug doses make positive move

Media release

Asthma drug doses make positive move

Prescribing data shows there has been a healthy change in the use of asthma preventers, in line with the aims of PHARMAC’s Responsible Use of Inhaled Corticosteroids campaign.

Inhaled corticosteroids such as beclomethasone (Beclazone), fluticasone (Flixotide) and budesonide (Pulmicort) are the mainstay of asthma management. PHARMAC began its campaign in February 2003 after research published both in New Zealand and internationally showed New Zealand’s average daily doses of the drugs were higher than the recommended level. Higher doses of inhaled corticosteroids are linked with complications such as brittle bones and adrenal suppression.

The campaign primarily targeted prescribers who were asked to review their patients’ asthma management regimes.

PHARMAC Medical Director Dr Peter Moodie says a look at prescribing data since the campaign began shows a decline in the average daily dose being prescribed.

“We’re pleased that doctors and their patients have responded in this way,” says Dr Moodie.

“Overall there has been a 7.1 percent reduction in the average daily dose of inhaled corticosteroids. This is in line with the aims of the campaign, and will help ensure New Zealanders are using these important drugs in line with the latest clinical evidence.”

Further evaluation is being carried out to make more detailed information available, including breakdowns of age groups, regional data and other information.


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