Asthma patients able to access medicine without trip to hospital

Patients with severe asthma who are shielding from coronavirus have been taught how to administer life-saving medication at home to prevent them having to go to hospital.

More than 400 people have benefited from the initiative at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS trust after home deliveries were arranged. Normally the injections, such as the biologic benralizumab, are administered by clinical staff in hospital.

Without the scheme, the patients would have had to go without the treatment or would have had to go against Government shielding advice to visit hospital. The scheme is being rolled out to other NHS trusts. One patient, Justin Ikpeamagheze, 36, a teacher and actor from Norbury, has been on biologics for two years after an asthma attack left him in an induced coma for nine days.

Treatments such as benralizumab, also known as Fasenra, target part of the immune system called the eosinophil that causes inflammation in the airways. They cause fewer side effects than steroids.

Mr Ikpeamagheze said: “I was worried about accessing my injections during lockdown. I called the clinic and they were really helpful. They sorted it all for me and arranged for my injections to be delivered on a two-monthly basis.

“They explained how to inject them and offered to send a nurse to do it but I was confident that I could do it, or that my girlfriend could.”

Gráinne d’Ancona, consultant pharmacist for the severe asthma team, said biologics bad been “transformational” by reducing symptoms and the frequency of asthma attacks. She said: “We were determined to get these important treatments to our patients safely while ensuring they felt supported at a very frightening time.”

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