June 2020, Vol 1, No 1

Asthma affects more than 25 million individuals in the United States, and remains a significant source of morbidity, mortality, and healthcare-related costs. Although many patients with asthma can achieve disease control with standard therapies, others have severe asthma that remains inadequately controlled despite adherence to conventional treatments, resulting in ongoing disease burden, poor health-related quality of life, and a decline in lung function. Researchers continue to study the safety and efficacy of novel agents for the treatment of asthma, as well as patient- and disease-related factors that can affect patient outcomes.

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Severe or uncontrolled asthma during pregnancy is associated with adverse maternal and neonatal/fetal outcomes. Therefore, controlling asthma-related symptoms in women who are pregnant remains an important goal of care. There are several classes of drugs approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of patients with asthma, including inhaled corticosteroids, leukotriene modifiers, long-acting beta agonists, and quick-relief medications. In addition, several biologics have recently been approved for treating asthma-related symptoms. However, there remains a lack of human safety data regarding the use of these newer agents in pregnant women.

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Given the ongoing development of groundbreaking therapies for patients, pharmaceutical support programs play a key role in increasing access to these medications. An example is Astra-Zeneca’s support program, Access 360, which initially began with a very small team of approximately 10 employees that performed vendor management and served as a conduit between healthcare professionals and the field reimbursement management team.

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Important goals in the effective management of patients with asthma include achieving symptom control, maintaining normal activity levels, keeping pulmonary function as close to normal as possible, preventing exacerbations, and avoiding treatment-related adverse effects.

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