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Information updates

Bee venom immunotherapy update

June 14, 2017:  

Following the previous communication earlier this year from Stallergenes Greer regarding the shortage of ALBEY honey bee venom 550mcg, the US/Canadian approved 550mcg-concentrated Hymenoptera honey bee venom freeze-dried powder has been authorised for supply under S19A (1), of the Therapeutic Goods Act as an alternative for Australian patients.

Therefore Hymenoptera 550mcg honey bee venom product can now be ordered as an alternative option for ALBEY honey bee Venom 550mcg.

The same PBS code 10621B will apply, which was previously used for Hymenoptera honey bee venom. PBS reimbursement will be effective from 1st July 2017. Any prescription written before 1st July will not be eligible for PBS subsidy. 

For more information go to www.allergy.org.au/members/allergen-immunotherapy-information 

3 second EpiPen®s are now available

June 13, 2017:

EpiPen® and EpiPen®Jr adrenaline (epinephrine) autoinjectors with the 3 second label will start to enter pharmacies in Australia and New Zealand from 13 June 2017 onwards. 

The devices have not changed, just the instructions on the label, which now include:

  • Reduced injection time from 10 to 3 seconds – this is based on research confirming efficacy and delivery of adrenaline through the 3 second delivery.
  • Removal of the massage step after the injection – this has been found to reduce the risk of tissue irritation.

Whilst it is important that anyone who requires anaphylaxis training (including school and early childhood education/care staff) are aware of the changes, there is no need for immediate re-training on the 3 second EpiPen®.

EpiPen®s with a 10 second label can continue to be used and should not be replaced unless they have been used, are just about to expire or have expired.  

All EpiPen®s should now be held in place for 3 seconds, regardless of the instructions on the label.  However, if they are held for 10 seconds it will not affect the way that the adrenaline works. 

To access updated ASCIA Action Plans for Anaphylaxis, ASCIA anaphylaxis e-training courses, the 3 second EpiPen® training video and other resources go to www.allergy.org.au/anaphylaxis  


ASCIA 2017 Conference registration and abstract submission now open

June 1, 2017

With an outstanding program featuring 8 international speakers and a venue located on the spectacular Waitematā Harbour in Auckland, this conference is sure to be a highlight of the year for ASCIA members and other health professionals with an interest in allergy and clinical immunology.

Please note that the deadline for abstract submission and discounted earlybird registration is Friday 14 July 2017.

To register go to www.ascia2017.com.au/registration 

To submit a poster or CGR abstract go to www.ascia2017.com.au/call-for-abstracts

To view the program go to www.ascia2017.com.au/preliminary-program 

For other information about the conference go to www.ascia2017.com.au 

For information on what to see and do in New Zealand (pre or post conference) visit www.newzealand.com/au/ 


FSANZ adds lupin to mandatory allergen labelling list

May 31, 2017

Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) has added lupin to the list of 9 allergens that must be declared on food labels, following consideration by ministers responsible for food regulation. Food businesses have 12 months from 25 May 2017 to meet the requirements.

The 10 foods or ingredients that must be declared are peanuts, tree nuts, milk, eggs, sesame seeds, fish, shellfish, soy, wheat and now lupin. These ingredients must be declared on the food label whenever they are present as ingredients or as components of food additives or processing aids. 

FSANZ CEO Mark Booth said lupin (which like soy and peanut has the potential to be an allergen) has been recognised as a significant allergen in the European Union food regulations since 2007.  “Historically, most of the Australian sweet lupin crop has been used for animal feed or exported. However, because of its high protein and fibre content, lupin is increasingly being used in food for people.  Due to the increase in use in food and some cases of allergic response, FSANZ decided lupin should be one of the allergens requiring mandatory declaration.

Australian peanut allergy treatment receives $10 million in funding

May 29, 2017

The development of a promising new treatment for peanut allergy in children will be the first project to receive $10 million in funding under the Turnbull Government’s Biomedical Translation Fund (BTF). 

The Minister for Health, Greg Hunt, and the Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science, Arthur Sinodinos has announced the first investment commitment under the BTF. The BTF combines $250 million of Commonwealth funding to be at least matched by private capital secured by independent licensed fund managers to realise a substantial $500 million fund. 

The purpose of this fund is to invest in Australian biomedical ideas with great potential for commercialisation. “The BTF is designed to change and improve the lives of Australians. This innovative solution to a lethal allergy experienced by so many kids and their parents in Australia and around the world has resulted from the great collaborative efforts of Professor Mimi Tang at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute and Prota Therapeutics,” Minister Hunt said.

ASCIA congratulates Professor Mimi Tang and her team on this wonderful news!

For further information go to www.health.gov.au/internet/ministers/publishing.nsf/Content/health-mediarel-yr2017-hunt055.htm

New ASCIA Guide for health professionals on introduction of peanut to infants with severe eczema and/or food allergy

May 18, 2017:   

A new ASCIA Guide for introduction of peanut to infants with severe eczema and/or food allergy has been developed, to provide options and information for health professionals (particularly GPs) about introducing peanut to infants with severe eczema and/or existing food allergy.  These infants are considered to have an increased risk of developing peanut allergy.   

This guide should be used in conjunction with ASCIA Guidelines for infant feeding and allergy prevention.

An updated version of parent information on how to introduce solid foods for allergy prevention is also available.

Health professionals can access all 3 documents at www.allergy.org.au/health-professionals/papers/infant-feeding-allergy-prevention

Parents can access the Guidelines and information about how to introduce solid foods for allergy prevention at www.allergy.org.au/patients/allergy-prevention

ASCIA Guidelines - Vaccination of the egg-allergic individual - 2017 update

May 17, 2017

A revised version of the ASCIA Guidelines for vaccination of the egg-allergic individual is now available, which aims to provide updated recommendations for vaccination of egg-allergic individuals, consistent with international and current Australian and New Zealand Guidelines. The updated Guidelines are available open access on the ASCIA website: www.allergy.org.au/health-professionals/papers/influenza-vaccination-of-the-egg-allergic-individual

The following is a summary of the revisions. 


  • Based on prospective and retrospective studies of influenza vaccination in those with and without egg allergy (including egg anaphylaxis), the presence of egg allergy does not increase the risk of allergic reactions to the influenza vaccine.
  • The entire vaccine can be administered in community vaccination clinics (which may or may not have direct medical practitioner supervision) as a single dose followed by the recommended 15 (Australia) or 20 (New Zealand) minute waiting period.
  • In making this recommendation, we are aware that some guidelines (e.g. CDC 2017) recommend a longer waiting period of 30 minutes in those with past egg anaphylaxis and that occasionally allergic reactions to vaccination may commence later than 20-30 minutes after administration The immediate availability of medical practitioner care is recommended and staff should be familiar with the recognition and treatment of anaphylaxis.
  • In individuals who have had anaphylaxis following administration of the influenza vaccine itself, further vaccination should be avoided without specialist allergy assessment.
  • If there is significant parental or health professional anxiety, the vaccine may be administered in primary care settings with a longer waiting period of 30 minutes.

Not recommended

  • “Split dosing”
  • Allergy testing with the vaccine or to egg prior to administration
  • Ingestion of egg as a pre-condition to administering the vaccine (relevant in infants)
  • Vaccination in specific hospital-based vaccination clinics
  • Allergy specialist review before influenza vaccination unless anaphylaxis to the influenza vaccine itself has occurred previously

Updated ASCIA anaphylaxis resources webpage

May 15, 2017 

ASCIA has recently undertaken a large systemic review of ASCIA patient information (around 90 articles) on the ASCIA website.

As a result of this process we have updated the ASCIA anaphylaxis resources webpage, to make it easier to locate and access resources: www.allergy.org.au/anaphylaxis

This webpage, which can now be accessed from the ASCIA website homepage, includes quick links to world leading resources, including ASCIA Action Plans and ASCIA e-training courses.

ASCIA anaphylaxis resources are applicable to Australia and New Zealand, and are available open access and free of charge.  

Food Allergy Week 2017

May 14, 2017 

This week is Food Allergy Week (14-20 May 2017), an annual initiative that aims to raise awareness about the importance of understanding food allergies to help protect those at risk.

To find out about Allergy & Anaphylaxis Australia (A&AA) activities during Food Allergy Week go to www.foodallergyaware.com.au

Membership of A&AA is now free and as a member you will receive regular communications including food products changes and recalls. To join go to www.allergyfacts.org.au/membership-application

Last week the Senate of the federal Australian government supported a Green’s motion by Senator Di Natale on Food Allergy Week acknowledging that it is an opportunity to highlight the high rates of food allergy in Australia and to encourage Australians to know how to respond to an allergy emergency www.greensmps.org.au/articles/food-allergy-week-2017 

Thunderstorm asthma review

May 3, 2017 

Last week a report titled “Review of response to the thunderstorm asthma event of 21–22 November 2016” was released by the Inspector-General for Emergency Management on the Victorian thunderstorm asthma event in November 2016, which is believed to have resulted in nine deaths. ASCIA contributed to this report, which contains 25 findings and 16 recommendations.

The Victorian government has announced a $15.56 million funding package for recommendations from this report, that include:

  • Research to improve understanding and treatment of epidemic thunderstorm asthma

  • Education and engagement campaigns to assist communities prepare for and respond to epidemic thunderstorm asthma

  • Increased monitoring and analytics of pollen

  • Real time monitoring of data sources including emergency departments

  • Emergency management training for hospitals and health workers

To access the full report go here

Another report was released last week on the assessment of health impacts due to the November 2016 thunderstorm asthma event in Victoria.
To access this report go to https://www2.health.vic.gov.au/emergencies/thunderstorm-asthma-event/response

Information on thunderstorm asthma on the ASCIA website was updated in December 2016 and is available at www.allergy.org.au/patients/asthma-and-allergy/thunderstorm-asthma

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