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Published: 5 November 2015

Authors: Jurgens, K.

Presentation to Respiratory Conference New Zealand November 2015.

β-2 agonists: mind the gap

The first step in asthma treatment is prescription of Ventolin, a β-2 agonist. This inhaler is designed to alleviate acute asthma symptoms. Access to this drug is currently by prescription only in New Zealand, but not in Australia and some other countries. Both pathways of access have pros and cons.

Kirk examines both approaches in order to encourage serious contemplation of how we think about asthma and the medications we use to control it.

The ‘gap’ in the title refers to patient knowledge about asthma, and the implications of asthma on their quality of life. Are we, as health professionals, doing everything we can to ensure asthma is well understood?

It is the responsibility of every health professional, and those with influence in the health system, to be aware of the patient’s need for adequate access to health-care intervention, medication safety and knowledge of lung pathology in asthma.