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RespiratoryJan 6, 2021

Survey spotlights need for 'different' treatment options in severe asthma: call echoed in COPD Day

The European Lung Foundation (ELF) has launched a survey to find out how people with severe asthma feel about the tools used to treat their condition.

The anonymous survey is part of a European project called 3TR.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock
Standard approaches may not always alleviate the symptoms of severe asthma


Who can take part? 

People can participate if they have severe asthma and are aged 11 years or older, or if they are a parent or carer of someone with severe asthma who is at least six. 

Those with severe asthma who are a parent of – or care for – someone with severe asthma, should complete the survey twice: once for themselves and once for the child or person they care for. 

How can I or a patient take part?

The survey is available in 14 languages. Here is a link to the English language version: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/3TRasthmatools

The organisers acknowledge that some patients with severe asthma do not improve with standard medicines – such as inhalers and tablets – and say that ‘different ways are needed’ to manage asthma and reduce asthma attacks.

The survey takes about 15 minutes to complete. Results will be published on the European Lung Foundation website, presented at scientific meetings, and used to develop guidance for healthcare professionals.

Founded by the European Respiratory Society in 2000, ELF aims to bring patients, the public and respiratory professionals together to improve lung health.

World COPD Day

Meanwhile, in an editorial published at the end of last year to publicise World COPD [chronic obstructive pulmonary disease] Day, Peter Barnes, a professor at the National Heart and Lung Institute at Imperial College London, echoed ELF’s message, saying ‘new directions’ in the field were vital.

The development of new therapies for COPD has been very disappointing so new approaches are needed [Professor Peter Barnes, Imperial College London]

He noted: ‘The development of new therapies for COPD has been very disappointing so new approaches are needed. Drugs that target the underlying disease process are required and these may be more effective if used in early disease before major structural and irreversible changes occur.

‘This will involve finding patients at an earlier stage in the disease process and long before spirometry becomes abnormal, as we currently define this disease. This means that we need to redefine COPD in the future and use more sensitive tests of small airway function and lung structure.'

Optimism for the future

More optimistically, Professor Barnes added: ‘By understanding the disease process better it may even be possible to develop therapeutic approaches with drugs and cell therapies that can restore the repair mechanisms of the lung which are lost early in COPD patients and this might even reverse the disease process in the future.’

Professor Barnes’ editorial appeared in the American Journal of Physiology-Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology: https://journals.physiology.org/doi/full/10.1152/ajplung.00473.2020

The theme of World COPD Day 2020 was Living Well with COPD: Everybody, Everywhere.

The annual event is organised by the Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease, in collaboration with healthcare professionals and COPD patient groups. It aims to raise awareness, share knowledge, and discuss ways to reduce the burden of COPD around the world. For more information, visit: https://goldcopd.org/world-copd-day






Author: Ian A McMillan
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