Feature Article

What’s new in asthma treatment?

John W Upham, Lauren M Galt



Medical research is redefining asthma as we know it. No longer does one size fit all when it comes to treatment, particularly when asthma is not responsive to standard therapies. There are new inhaled therapies available as well as highly targeted biologic therapies for the allergic and eosinophilic subclasses of asthma.

Key Points

  • Large studies in patients with asthma have revealed different patterns of airway inflammation (asthma phenotypes) that suggest the possibility of an individualised approach to asthma management.
  • Australian doctors and patients now have a wider choice of inhaled corticosteroid (ICS) plus long-acting beta agonist (LABA) combinations and inhaler devices.
  • Evidence suggests that addition of the long-acting muscarinic antagonist tiotropium to ICS plus LABA therapy may reduce asthma exacerbations while providing modest bronchodilatation.
  • The monoclonal antibodies omalizumab and mepolizumab were recently licensed in Australia for the management of patients with severe allergic asthma and severe eosinophilic asthma, respectively.

    Picture credit: © Phototake/Carol and Mike Werner/Medical Images.