Asthma is one of the most common chronic conditions in Australia, affecting an estimated one in 10 Australians.1 Despite excellent access to effective pharmacological treatments, asthma is suboptimally managed in Australia.2

Learning objectives

After reading this article, pharmacists should be able to:

  • Define the different levels of asthma control
  • Discuss the safety of inhaled short-acting beta2-agonist (SABA) monotherapy
  • Counsel patients on the role of SABAs in asthma management.

Competencies (2016) addressed: 1.1, 1.3, 1.4, 1.5, 2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 2.4, 3.1, 3.2, 3.5.

Case scenario

Jane, a 20-year-old university student, visits your pharmacy regularly. She has mild-intermittent asthma with infrequent symptoms. She experiences worsening symptoms during spring and with viral infections. In the past year, she has experienced three severe exacerbations requiring emergency care. She was prescribed a daily low-dose inhaled corticosteroid and as-needed salbutamol. However, Jane finds it challenging to remember to take her preventer regularly. When she feels symptoms worsening, she uses her salbutamol inhaler and feels some relief. However, her exacerbations remain poorly controlled. She has been using salbutamol more than four times a week in the last month. How would you assess Jane’s asthma? What suggestions would you make about her ongoing management?

Test your knowledge on this article’s assessment questions here to earn up to 1.5 Group 2 CPD credits.