Final part of our "Biologics for severe asthma" review we conclude drug recommendations and discuss their availability in Ireland
Posted by Eamonn Brady on
Biologics for severe Asthma
New Asthma Treatment
European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (EAACI) guidelines (continued)
It is approved for severe asthma with type 2 inflammation characterized by raised blood eosinophils and/or raised fractional exhaled nitric oxide (FeNO); it is approved as add on therapy for adults and adolescents aged 12 to 17 years.
Dupilumab blocks two interleukin proteins called (IL-4 and IL-13) which differentiates it from the other biologic therapies; it has shown very favourable results in asthma trials. The EAACI strongly recommends it as add-on therapy to reduce symptom exacerbation and improve lung function and strongly recommended to reduce exacerbations, increase lung function, and taper oral corticosteroids in severe uncontrolled Type-2 asthma in over 12’s.
Availability of Biologics for Asthma in Ireland
Biologics in Ireland are not approved for use under the community drug schemes meaning they are not available via the DPS/ GMS schemes. In Ireland, biologics for asthma are paid for directly out of hospital budgets which limits availability as hospitals only have limited budgets.
Access to biologic therapy for patients is regulated by the HSE via a strict protocol which consultants must abide by; the cost of the drug is taken from their hospital’s allocated budget for biologics. This has led to a so called “post-code lottery” as access will vary and is largely dependent on individual hospital budgets.
Whilst mepolizumab and benralizumab are available in auto-injector pens to facilitate patient self-administration in other countries, these devices are not yet approved for use in Ireland, so biologic therapies must be administered by a specialist nurse in supervised settings in Ireland which further reduces patient access.
The Asthma Society of Ireland is leading a campaign for the Government to fund greater patient access to biologics.
Convenient Flu Vaccination Service at Whelehans
Whelehans offer flu vaccine at our Pearse St and Clonmore store most days for adults and children. You can book online on the Whelehans Pharmacy website or ring either pharmacy. Flu vaccine is €25 (€20 if you book online) or free with medical or doctor visit card. It is free for older people, children and people with long term conditions and healthcare workers.
Covid 19 Vaccine Clinic
Whelehans offer a weekly COVID-19 Walk in clinic at Whelehans Pearse St for Covid-19 boosters. Contact Whelehans Pearse St at 0449334591 or check Whelehans website or social media for more information
For comprehensive and free health advice and information call in to Whelehans, log on to www.whelehans.ie or dial 04493 34591 (Pearse St) or 04493 10266 (Clonmore) or firstname.lastname@example.org.