The guide, developed by experts at the Asthma and Respiratory Foundation NZ and the Medical Research Institute of New Zealand, gives simple, practical and evidence-based information for health professionals to diagnose and assess asthma in adults.

Health professionals welcomed the guidelines, which the Foundation proudly launched at the New Zealand Respiratory Conference held in Auckland in November 2016.

An asthma guide for children is being developed and likely to be released in 2017.

Latest research
The adult asthma guide was last updated in 2002. Now, it includes recommendations based on the latest asthma research and developments.

Many of the recommendations are based on breakthrough research done in New Zealand, which has led to improvements in the management of asthma worldwide, the guideline’s lead researcher Professor Richard Beasley says. 

For example, ‘smart inhalers’, which contain medicines for short-term symptoms and long-term control of asthma, have been shown to be very effective in helping people control their asthma. If used properly, they can help prevent symptoms, such as wheezing and coughing, altogether, which means people don’t have to use their reliever as much, or at all.

The smart inhalers are recommended in the guidelines for the frst time.

How the guidelines will help adults with asthma
The guidelines mean every adult with asthma can receive the very best asthma advice and treatment, GP and Deputy Dean at Dunedin School of Medicine Jim Reid says.

“Implementing the guide nationwide will mean all asthma patients receive the same level of care and up-to-date information.”

The new guidelines consider the medicines available in New Zealand, and are also specifically tailored for Kiwis. For example, there is special advice for treating asthma in Māori and Pacific adults, and also for pregnant women with asthma.

The best asthma treatment is not just about treating asthma attacks – it’s also about preventing the symptoms in the first place.

The guidelines mean every adult with asthma can receive the very best asthma advice and treatment

Because of this, another of the key recommendations in the guidelines is to urge people with asthma to have and use action plans to manage their condition.

Associate Professor Reid says if health professionals follow the guidelines for diagnosis and treatment of asthma, it will mean optimum outcomes for patients. 

Quick asthma facts

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