Treating asthma in pregnancy can be daunting

A postal survey of 174 Victorian GPs involved in shared antenatal care, conducted by Monash University researchers, found a quarter would stop or decrease the inhaled corticosteroids (ICS) dose during pregnancy even if a patient’s asthma was stable.

Asked to respond to a clinical scenario of deteriorating asthma in pregnancy, only 62.6% of GPs opted to increase the dosage of a woman’s current regimen.

Some 12% of GPs chose to refer a pregnant woman with deteriorating asthma to another health professional although the case presented did not warrant referral, the researchers said.

Around half of GPs reported encountering patients with poor adherence to preventive medication.

Overall GPs complied with guidelines but “a lack of confidence and/or knowledge... in managing deteriorating asthma... was observed”.

National Asthma Council Australia chair and GP, Associate Professor Noela Whitby, said asthma medicine