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Different approach needed for asthma patients

Media Release
27 May 2008

Different approach needed for asthma patients

With the peak asthma season upon us, a recent survey has shown over half of New Zealand asthma patients still had asthma that was uncontrolled or not well-controlled[1].

“This means that too many patients are still struggling with their asthma and over-relying on their blue reliever puffer, rather than treating the underlying inflammation with a preventer (commonly brown, orange, purple or red inhalers),” Dr Shaun Holt, a leading researcher and respiratory physician said.

Asthma research conducted in 2001[2] revealed that 71% patients had asthma that was not well-controlled, while one in five had asthma that was markedly out of control. In adults whose asthma was not well-controlled, 49% were being under-treated with preventative medication.

“The latest research showed that little has changed - 76% of the patients surveyed were using their reliever at least daily, and 33% used at least 3 to 4 puffs a day.”

In contrast, international guidelines suggest best practice is to use relievers no more than 2-3 times a week.[3]

“This shows how many patients are still not correctly managing their asthma, despite years of education. A different approach is needed to better control patients’ asthma in years to come.”

Dr Holt recommends that patients who feel their asthma is not well controlled should contact their GP and seek advice on possible changes to their current asthma treatment regime.


[1] NZ INSPIRE Study Review, Research Review September 2007.
2 Asthma morbidity, control and treatment in New Zealand - POMS study, NZMJ 2003: Vol 116 No 1174 pp1-8
3 Global Strategy for Asthma Management and Prevention, National Institute of Health Revised 2006 (

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