AIHW Board AIHW senior staff Annual report Capability statement Collaboration Customer care charter FOI - freedom of information Indexed list of files Organisation chart Presentations Privacy of data Public consultation Public Interest Disclosure Strategic Directions 2011-2014 Tenders
By category Ageing, disability & carers Families & children Hospitals Housing & homelessness Indigenous Australians Population groups Risk factors, diseases & death Services, workforce & spending
By subject Adoptions Aged care Ageing Alcohol & other drugs Arthritis & musculoskeletal conditions Asthma Australia's health Australia's welfare Burden of disease Cancer Cardiovascular disease Child health, development & wellbeing Child protection Children's services Chronic diseases
Chronic kidney disease Chronic respiratory conditions COPD Deaths Dementia Dental & oral health Diabetes Disability Expenditure Eye health Food & nutrition Health indicators Homelessness Hospitals Housing assistance Indigenous Australians Injury Life expectancy
Male health Mental health Mothers & babies National health priority areas Overweight & obesity Palliative care Population health Prisoner health Risk factors Rural health Safety & quality of health care Veterans' health Workforce Youth health & wellbeing Youth justice
In other sections Data Publications Contact AIHW
Publications CatalogueOrdering publicationsForthcoming publicationsOnline reportsRate our publication effectivenessSubscribe to release notices
By subject Adoptions Aged care Ageing Alcohol & other drugs Arthritis & musculoskeletal conditions Asthma Australia's health Australia's welfare Burden of disease Cancer Cardiovascular disease Child health, development & wellbeing Child protection Children's services Chronic diseases Chronic kidney disease
Chronic respiratory conditions Corporate publications Data linkage Data standards Deaths Dental & oral health Diabetes Disability Expenditure Eye health Food & nutrition General practice Health indicators Homelessness Hospitals Housing assistance Indigenous Australians Indigenous housing
Injury Life expectancy Male health Mental health services Mothers & babies National health priority areas Overweight & obesity Palliative care Population health Prisoner health Risk factors Rural health Safety & quality of health care Veterans' health Workforce Youth health & wellbeing Youth justice
In other sections Subjects Data Contact AIHW
About AIHW data METeOR—metadata online registry Data by subject Catalogue of holdings of AIHW data Customised data analysis request Data governance framework Data linking Data standards GovHack Privacy of data Accessing Australian Government health and welfare data
By subjectAboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Performance Framework Adoptions Aged care Alcohol and other drugs Alcohol data sources Body weight data sources Cancer Children's headline indicators (CHI) Chronic disease indicators Data sources for monitoring health conditionsDeaths Disability
Expenditure FHBH - Fixing houses for better health General practice (GP) data Height and weight data sources Hospitals Indigenous Australians International collaboration Maternity Information Matrix (MIM) Medical indemnity
Mental health National Aged Care Data Clearinghouse National core maternity indicators (NCMI) National indicator catalogue Perinatal data Risk factors statistics Specialist Homelessness Services (SHS) Tobacco data sources Workforce
In other sections Subjects Publications Contact AIHW
AACR ACFADD AHSAC AIHW Board AIHW Ethics Committee AODTS NMDS WG CKDMAC CMAG CSDWG CVDMAC HEAC HHIMG
IGIHM JJ RIG MHISSC NAGATSIHID NCIAG NCSIMG NDDWG NDIMG NHISSC NIAG NIRAPIMG NMDD
NMDS NMHPSC NOPSAD NPDDC NPHEP NPHIC PCDWG PDWG PHIDG PHIG REDWG Workforce committees YIAG
Education worksheets Infographics What's in the pipeline Subscribe to education notices Other educational links
Worksheets by subject All Latest Ageing Australia's health Australia's welfare Carers
Children & youth Disability Disease Drugs
Health Health prevention Indigenous Australians Injury
In other sections Subjects Data Publications Contact AIHW
Job vacancies How to apply for a position at the AIHW Conditions of employment Benefits of working for the AIHW Temporary employment register Occupational Training Program Contact the People Unit Graduates
AIHW Access magazine Media releases Subscribe to release notices Media FAQ Media contacts
You are here:
In 2008, inappropriate prescribing of inhaled corticosteroids (ICS) is likely to have cost the community nearly $3 million, according to a report released today by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).
The report, Medications prescribed for people with obstructive airways disease: antibiotics and inhaled corticosteroids, shows that 44% of people whose records suggested that they had a short term respiratory infection but did not have obstructive airways disease received short term inhaled corticosteroids with oral antibiotics.
'The use of short courses of ICS as treatment for respiratory tract infections in patients without obstructive airways disease such as asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is not supported by available evidence nor recommended in treatment guidelines,' said Professor Guy Marks, from the AIHW's Australian Centre for Asthma Monitoring.
'Inappropriately prescribed ICS increases the risk of adverse events for the patient as well as creating unnecessary cost to the public.'
The report also suggests that antibiotics are commonly used to treat patients with asthma and COPD.
'Antibiotics may be life-saving when used appropriately, and are recommended for treatment of bacterial infections, exacerbations of COPD, and some other respiratory conditions,' Professor Marks said.
However, they occasionally cause side effects, create unnecessary cost for the community and can contribute to resistant strains of bacteria.
'In our report we suggest that new strategies may be needed to assist clinicians in diagnosing patients with respiratory symptoms,' said Professor Marks.
'Improved diagnostic accuracy could minimise the likelihood that clinicians prescribe medication that covers a number of possible diagnoses, but may not be appropriate for the individual's condition.'
The report also shows high rates of dispensing of antibiotics to people with conditions such as asthma and COPD. In 2008, 75% of concession card holders dispensed any respiratory medication were also dispensed oral antibiotics. Among people most likely to have COPD, 78% were also dispensed oral antibiotics. The report was unable to determine whether or not these prescriptions were appropriate.
Upper and lower respiratory tract infections are a common trigger of exacerbations of asthma and COPD. Many of these are caused by viral infections and, therefore, do not respond to treatment with antibiotics.
The AIHW is a major national agency set up by the Australian Government to provide reliable, regular and relevant information and statistics on Australia's health and welfare.
Canberra, 9 November 2012
Further information: Professor Guy Marks, AIHW, Australian Centre for Asthma Monitoring, ph. 02 9114 0466, mob. 0419 251 565
Full report: Medications prescribed for people with obstructive airways disease: antibiotics and inhaled corticosteroids