Information updates

Allergy testing and avoidance of allergic triggers is an important part of allergy and asthma management

Apr 2, 2017 

A media report on the Weekend Sunrise program has caused considerable confusion and misunderstanding about the role of allergy testing, with possible dangerous consequences if food allergy testing is performed without medical supervision in people at risk of severe allergic reactions (anaphylaxis).

Here are the facts:

1. Allergy testing should only be performed under medical supervision using proven methods (skin prick tests or blood tests for allergen-specific IgE) in individuals with suspected food, medication or insect allergy, allergic rhinitis (hay fever) and/or asthma.

2. Allergy test results cannot be used on their own and must be considered together with an individual's clinical history. This combined information helps doctors confirm which substances individuals are allergic to, so that appropriate avoidance advice can be given. For example when an individual has had a suspected or actual allergic reaction to a nut, nut allergy should be confirmed with an allergy test. It is not necessary to test for, or avoid nuts which the individual is known to have eaten without reaction.

3. Oral allergen challenge testing for food or medication allergy (under medical supervision) may be required to confirm diagnosis. This is usually performed under the supervision of an allergy/clinical immunology specialist with appropriate resuscitation facilities immediately available. For example, in the case of positive allergy tests to nuts, the individual should avoid eating the nuts until proven non-allergic by medically supervised oral allergen challenge.

4. Allergy tests should not be used for screening. It is possible for some individuals to be sensitised to an allergen, and have a positive allergy test, but have no clinical symptoms.

For further information go to:

The published study that the media report was based on is available at: 


Content updated 2 April 2017

Urgent TGA Medicine Recall – EpiPen 300 batches 5FA665, 5FA6651, 5FA6652, 5FA6653 (expiry April 2017)

Apr 2, 2017 

Further to the news issued on March 20, no additional batches of EpiPen® 300 adrenaline autoinjectors supplied in Australia or New Zealand have been recalled, as the most recent batches recalled were supplied in other countries. 

Mar 20, 2017:  

Alphapharm Pty Ltd, following consultation with the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) is recalling 4 batches of EpiPen® 300 microgram adrenaline (epinephrine) autoinjectors, used for the treatment of allergic emergencies (anaphylaxis). This recall is due to the potential that these devices may contain a defective part that may result in the device failing to activate or requiring increased force to activate.

If the EpiPen fails to activate it may result in life threatening adverse events as the underlying anaphylaxis will not be treated.

The batch numbers affected (which all expire in April 2017 are as follows: 

5FA665, 5FA6651, 5FA6652, 5FA6653.

If you have an EpiPen:

  1. Check if you have a 300 μg EpiPen® (yellow carton and label) and if you do, check the batch number and expiry. The batch number and expiry can be found on the label of the pen or on the end of the carton.
  2. If your EpiPen® 300μg has the following batch numbers 5FA665, 5FA6651, 5FA6652 or 5FA6653 and an expiry of Apr 17, you need to replace it with a new one as soon as possible by returning to your pharmacist.

    batch number on EpiPen 300
  3. Your pharmacist will replace the EpiPen® 300μg from the affected batch with an EpiPen® 300μg from a different batch FREE OF CHARGE.
  4. You must keep your current EpiPen® until you get a replacement and use it if required.

If your EpiPen® 300μg is not from a batch listed above or is a green EpiPen® Jr 150μg adrenaline autoinjector, your product is not affected by this recall and no action is required.

Alphapharm Pty Ltd sincerely regrets any inconvenience to its customers.

Further information is available on the TGA website: 

pdfConsumer advertisement Epipen 300 Recall130.81 KB

Urgent Medical Recall EpiPen


World Allergy Week 2-8 April 2017

Mar 8, 2017

This is a global campaign of the World Allergy Organisation (WAO) which aims to raise awareness of the impact of allergy in our communities.

This years' theme is 'The Agony of Hives – What to do when hives and swelling don’t go away'. AIFA and ASCIA (as a member society of the WAO) are supporting this initiative in Australia and New Zealand through our new 'wear a spot of red' campaign.

This campaign encourages our supporters to help raise awareness and funds to support research into allergy, by wearing a spot of red or holding an event in their home, school or workplace. Why not organise a 'wear a spot of red' mufti day at work, decorate your workspace or classroom using 'a spot of red' or host a 'spot of red' morning tea or bake sale?

New ASCIA website resources for health professionals - AR e-training for pharmacists, PID Clinical Update, HAE Position Paper

Mar 3, 2017: 

ascia etraining pharmacyASCIA allergic rhinitis (AR) e-training for pharmacists 

This is the latest course that ASCIA has developed for pharmacists.  The course is available free of charge at  

ASCIA anaphylaxis, food allergy and allergic rhinitis e-training courses can be completed in multiple sessions, allowing flexible completion. These courses have all been accredited and attract CPD points. 

ASCIA PID Clinical Update

ascia pid clinical update and etrainingThis new ASCIA primary immunodeficiencies (PID) Clinical Update is paper is now available open access at This Clinical Update complements ASCIA PID e-training for health professionals, available free of charge at   The main objectives of the ASCIA PID Clinical Update and e-training course are to:

  • increase awareness of PID amongst general practitioners, paediatricians and general physicians; and
  • promote early recognition and referral to a clinical immunologist, to improve the management and quality of life for patients with PID in Australia and New Zealand.  

ASCIA HAE Position Paper

ascia HAE position paperA recently updated version of the ASCIA Hereditary Angioedema (HAE) position paper is now available open access at  This is an updated version of the original ASCIA Position Paper on HAE that was developed by the ASCIA HAE Working Party in 2010 and revised in 2012. 

Information on HAE is also available in ASCIA PID e-training for health professionals, available free of charge at   

Possible bee venom shortage in second half of 2017

Feb 27, 2017: 

The ALK bee venom manufacturing facility recently failed a FDA inspection. ALK is therefore currently unable to supply bee venom to the US.

In Australia and New Zealand the Albey brand of bee venom immunotherapy is used, which is distributed by Stallergenes Greer. The manufacturer of the venom used in the Albey products is now facing supply pressures in the US in order to make up the shortfall arising from the non-availability of the ALK bee venom product. This could result in a temporary reduced supply to international consumers including Australia and New Zealand.

It is therefore recommended that patients who are on maintenance bee venom immunotherapy should contact their GP to seek advice from the Allergy/Immunology specialist who initiated the treatment course to discuss options.

ASCIA anaphylaxis e-training for Western Australian Schools is now online

Jan 23, 2017: 

ASCIA has worked with the Western Australian Department of Health in consultation with key stakeholders to develop an anaphylaxis e-training schools course specifically for WA schools. ASCIA anaphylaxis e-training WA for schools is now available.

With most Australian regions using ASCIA e-training as the recommended anaphylaxis training for schools, we are very pleased to add this latest course.  

For more information and links to schools e-training websites and courses including new the Western Australian course ( go to 

Other resources for schools and childcare are available at 

fFor ASCIA Action Plans for Anaphylaxis go to 

Thunderstorm asthma epidemic

Dec 9, 2016

The recent thunderstorm asthma epidemic in Melbourne and its tragic consequences highlight the need for more research, education and awareness in this area.

Thunderstorm asthma is thought to be triggered by thunderstorms that have rapid changes in wind, temperature and humidity, which cause pollen grains to absorb moisture, burst open and release large amounts of small pollen allergen particles that can penetrate deep into the small airways of the lung.   

Not everyone affected by Australian thunderstorm asthma epidemics has had thunderstorm asthma before. However, they have usually had severe allergic rhinitis (hay fever) and have been found to be allergic to ryegrass pollen.

If you have allergic rhinitis or asthma triggered by pollen:

  • Try to avoid being outside on high pollen days, particularly during windy days and thunderstorms (which are common in spring); and
  • See your pharmacist and/or doctor to check that you are being appropriately treated, with preventer medications. 

It is important to note that:

  • Not all thunderstorms, even on days with high pollen counts, trigger thunderstorm asthma
  • Other weather factors are involved in thunderstorm asthma
  • It is not only people with pollen allergy who may be affected by thunderstorm asthma
  • Other allergens such as fungal spores, massive humidity and temperature changes over a short period can also affect some people with asthma and other respiratory diseases during a thunderstorm

Further information on thunderstorm is available at: 

AusPollen Apps are available at and these aim to provide accurate and easily accessible information on local pollen counts.  Completion of a short questionnaire will help the AusPollen research team to evaluate usefulness of the apps and how the service can be improved. This research is funded by NHMRC Partnership Project GNT1116107 and co-sponsorship from partner organisations, including ASCIA and AIFA. 

ASCIA highlights from 2016 and plans for 2017

Nov 28, 2016

As the end of 2016 approaches it is timely to reflect on the significant development, achievements and collaborations of ASCIA over the past year, and plans for 2017.

Thank you to ASCIA members and supporters for your greatly appreciated contributions throughout 2016.  We look forward to continuing to work with you in 2017 on a wide range of projects.

A summary of highlights from 2016 and plans for 2017 is available at 

Allergy and Immunology Foundation of Australasia (AIFA) Research Grants

Nov 16, 2016

AIFA has provided $100,000 in research grants to support 6 projects over the past 3 years.

This funding includes two $10,000 grants announced this month, one supporting research into Jack Jumper Ant immunotherapy and the second that will improve development of a drug for allergy.

For information about these grants go to

To donate in support of AIFA research grants go to 

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