‘Life-changing’ medication for asthma patients now available in Sussex

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A specialist type of asthma treatment, that helps reduce lung inflammation, asthma attacks and the reliance of steroids, is now available at the Royal Sussex County Hospital.

Local patients across Sussex with severe asthma can for the first time be put forward to access these biologic injections closer to home.

Dr Harpreet Ranu is a consultant in respiratory medicine at University Hospitals Sussex NHS Foundation Trust. She said: “Prior to this treatment being available at Royal Sussex County Hospital from February this year, patients with debilitating breathing issues were travelling over two hours to London more than once, to be assessed, referred and treated for their asthma.”

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Asthma is a condition that can cause symptoms such as coughing, wheezing, feeling breathless or a tight chest, it affects over 8 million people in the UK, with around 5.4 million receiving treatment and 200,000 with a severe type of asthma.

Jenny, Clem, Beth, Mark, Yhomi and Lottie.Jenny, Clem, Beth, Mark, Yhomi and Lottie.
Jenny, Clem, Beth, Mark, Yhomi and Lottie.

Now patients are being seen by a multi-disciplinary team at the Same Day Emergency Care unit in the calm and scenic Louisa Martindale Building in Brighton.

This is having huge benefits for both patients and staff, with a reduction in patients having severe flare ups and attending A&E, reducing carbon footprints with no need to travel to London and a quicker more efficient service for patients.

“The biologics have little to no side effects, they are minimally invasive and can be self-injected by some patients. Patients can be seen and offered injectables within four weeks, before some patients may have had to wait over a year to receive medication.” Dr Ranu adds.

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Christine Smith, 60, from Brighton has suffered with asthma most her life.

Peter Evans and Jenny BeaumontPeter Evans and Jenny Beaumont
Peter Evans and Jenny Beaumont

She states: “Before starting biological injections, my asthma would make me feel so breathless it was having a detrimental effect on my work and life. I tried various medicines to control my asthma but experienced negative side effects and felt awful. I had trouble sleeping, gained weight, and had liver issues.”

“I can’t express how life-changing the biologic medication has been and how fortunate I am to access them at home in Brighton, instead of having to travel to London.”

“The team at the hospital have been brilliant and it’s lovely to be in that building with those incredible sea views.”

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“I’m now able to self-inject once a month at home which has given me the freedom to revolve the treatment around my life. The team were very supportive and helpful in showing me how to use my medication, it’s now delivered to my door, so I don’t have to go to the pharmacy or hospital.”

The biologics are offering people who suffer with asthma a chance to ‘live further’ according to Peter Evans, 58 from Brighton.

“I’ve had asthma for about 10 years and in the last three years it has got worse and worse, to the stage I was admitted to hospital for a week because I couldn’t breathe.”

“I struggle sleeping as I would wake up in the middle of the night unable to breathe, I struggled to keep up with my two grandkids as I kept getting out of breath and I didn’t want them to see their grandad like that.”

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“I started the biologics last month and already feel better. I’m sleeping well and using my inhaler less.”

“I’m so grateful to be getting this treatment as I know not everyone has access to it so to be approved, I feel so lucky and the team have been absolutely brilliant; they are so patient, understanding and keep me well informed.”

Peters adds: “It got to a stage with my asthma where I thought my life was going to be shortened, but now thanks to the biologics I feel so much better.”