Kimbra launches campaign to urge effective asthma management

Asthma Awareness Week – Popular recording artist and asthma sufferer Kimbra is joining forces with asthma experts and peak respiratory health groups today to launch the Asthma: Take Control campaign. The national campaign is urging people affected by asthma to commit to following the advice given by their healthcare professional to optimise health outcomes.

The call comes in light of concern that up to 9 out of 10 Australians with asthma are not using their asthma inhaler correctly1. Common problems include holding the device inaccurately, failure to inhale correctly, or using empty or near empty inhalers2. Asthma outcomes are also affected when people do not take their medication as prescribed by their doctor, often an issue for patients juggling busy lives. 

It has also been revealed that less than a quarter (24%) of people with asthma have a written asthma action plan3

The Asthma: Take Control campaign hopes to improve people’s awareness of asthma and encourages Australians affected by the disease to improve their asthma management by taking medicines as directed by a healthcare professional, having an asthma management plan in place and regularly checking their inhaler technique. 

Asthma Australia and the National Asthma Council Australia are teaming up with GSK on the campaign to encourage people to commit to improving their lung health in the form of a “commitment”. These commitments will be incorporated into the creation of a temporary art installation which will be on show in Melbourne’s Federation Square. 

The installation – comprising giant inflatable lungs onto which commitments can be contributed – is on show for the launch of the initiative today – which also marks Asthma Awareness Week (1-7 September).

Celebrity ambassador Kimbra has a personal reason for wanting to front the campaign, having experienced the effects of poor asthma control on her lifestyle and singing performance first hand. 

“I’ve been dealing with asthma since I was a child and haven’t always had it under control. As a singer, being able to breathe easily and have my lungs functioning properly is crucial. And as an artist who travels all the time for my shows there are times when my schedule and lifestyle get in the way of making my asthma management a priority. I know when I am careful with my medication and follow the advice of my doctor I can perform at my peak ability,” said Kimbra. 

According to Mark Brooke, CEO of Asthma Australia, adhering to medicines, learning to use inhaler devices properly and following the instructions of healthcare professionals are important factors to better health for people managing their asthma. 

“Asthma medicines can play a crucial role in reducing the impact of asthma on people’s lives. But we need people to take the medications as they are prescribed in order to get the full benefit. Clinical trials show that the medicines work to control asthma by preventing symptoms, relieving symptoms and reducing asthma flare ups, but they will only work if patients work in partnership with their GP and take them in the way they were prescribed,” said Mr Brooke. 

The National Asthma Council’s CEO, Ms Kristine Whorlow, welcomed the campaign’s push toward awareness of the positive impact of people with asthma knowing how and when to use their asthma medicines. 

“Many people don’t even realise that they are using their inhaler incorrectly or that they should take their medications as often as they are prescribed. We are encouraging people with asthma to visit their healthcare professional and check to see that they are properly managing their condition,” said Ms Whorlow. 

GSK Associate Medical Director Dr Navin Singh said the GSK was proud to be able to launch this initiative during Asthma Awareness Week in partnership with the National Asthma Council and Asthma Australia. 

“There are significant health benefits that can be achieved by effectively managing asthma. GSK is committed to increasing awareness of this condition and the importance of appropriate management. This campaign offers us a great way to do this,” said Dr Singh. 

Respiratory Specialist Professor Jo Douglass from the Royal Melbourne Hospital said “despite all the progress in the availability of effective asthma medicines in Australia many people with asthma are still not achieving the best possible health outcomes. 

“We hope that when patients leave the consulting room they will use the medicines as we have advised but this is too often not the case. I don’t think there has been enough attention given to helping patients adhere to the best way of using their medication once it has been prescribed. Good inhaler technique leads to the best benefits from asthma medications,” said Professor Douglass. 

According to Professor Douglass there are a number of things patients can do that will help them control their asthma more effectively. 

“First of all, talk to your GP, pharmacist or asthma nurse to ensure you are using your asthma medicines correctly. If you are taking an inhaler, make sure you know how to use it. Patients should have their asthma regularly reviewed by their doctor and discuss which treatments best suit them and the way they live their life”, said Professor Douglass. 

The initiative will run through the month of September 2014. 

People who are unsure about their asthma management should speak with a healthcare professional to check that they are managing their condition appropriately. 

This campaign was developed in partnership with Asthma Australia and the National Asthma Council Australia and is proudly sponsored by GSK Australia. 

If you are an Australian healthcare professional please visit www.health.gsk.com,www.asthmaaustralia.org.au or www.nationalasthma.org.au for more information on asthma management. 

You can follow GSK(@GSK_AU) and Asthma Australia(@AsthmaAUS) on Twitter for more updates on the Asthma: Take Control campaign or join the conversation online using the hashtag #AsthmaTakeControl. 

ENDS 

This media release has been issued by Palin Communications on behalf of GSK. 

GSK Australia enquiries or interview requests contact: 
Ishtar Schneider Martin Palin 
0422 944 023 0418 419 258 
02 9412 2255 02 9412 2255 
ishtar@palin.com.aumartin@palin.com.au