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Information updates

New Subcutaneous Immunoglobulin (SCIg) products - August 2023

The National Blood Authority (NBA) has agreed arrangements with Grifols Australia Pty Ltd for the introduction of their Subcutaneous Immunoglobulin (SCIg) product, Xembify 20%, under the national blood arrangements. Supply to the Australian market is anticipated to commence in January 2024. This additional product will strengthen and diversify the supply of SCIg in Australia to ensure eligible patients continue to have access to Ig treatment.

Xembify 20% (Grifols) is approved by the Therapeutics Goods Administration (TGA) in line with the usual high standards of safety and quality. The introduction of Xembify will be in addition to the currently available suite of imported SCIg products, namely Hizentra 20% (CSL Behring), Cuvitru 20% (Takeda) and the new domestic SCIg product Hizentra AU (CSL Behring).

For information about the transition from Evogam to Hizentra AU go to https://www.allergy.org.au/about-ascia/info-updates/transition-from-evogam-to-hizentra-au-scig-products

Please see the NBA website for further information about the introduction of Xembify. Announcements on BloodSTAR and BloodNet, as well as relevant advice to stakeholder groups will occur over the coming months in preparation for the introduction of Xembify 20%. Communications will also be sent to Approved Health Providers and Red Cross Lifeblood to prepare their systems for this change, as further details are available.

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Australian Quality Standard for Rheumatoid Arthritis - August 2023

The Australian Rheumatology Association (ARA), in collaboration with Arthritis Australia, is developing a Quality Standard for Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA), to improve the quality of care for people living with RA.

The final quality statements will be based on consensus agreement by healthcare professionals involved in the care of people with RA, as well as people living with RA.

ARA invites ASCIA members to take part in an online survey to indicate agreement with the:

  1. Selection of priority areas
  2. Content and wording of each quality statement

The survey is available at https://redcap.link/RA_qual_stds and is open until 6th September 2023. 

For more information, please review the Participant Information Sheet for healthcare professionals:

pdfParticipant Information Sheet for Healthcare Professionals240.40 KB

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ASCIA Survey to improve undergraduate allergy education for health professionals - August 2023

ASCIA is conducting a short survey to help improve undergraduate allergy education for future health professionals, as part of the National Allergy Council (NAC) Shared Care for Allergy (SCA) Project. 

The survey is open until 21 August 2023 at ASCIA Allergy Training Survey   

Health professionals who complete the survey will have a chance to win one of five ASCIA 2024 Conference virtual registrations. 

We encourage health professionals to complete the survey, who have completed an Australian degree in Medicine, Nursing, Nutrition/Dietetics, Paramedicine, Pharmacy, Podiatry or Psychology, and postgraduate students currently studying one of these disciplines. 

You can read more about ASCIA’s involvement in the NAC SCA project in the latest ASCIA Progress Report    

This information is also on the ASCIA website www.allergy.org.au/hp 

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Transition from Evogam to Hizentra AU SCIg products - July 2023

In May 2022, the National Blood Authority (NBA) announced that five domestically produced plasma products are undergoing transition in 2023 and 2024.

From 2 August 2023, patients on EVOGAM subcutaneous immunoglobulin (SCIg) product will transition to HIZENTRA AU, if they have not already transitioned. The timing of when each patient will transition will be determined by their treating team and it is anticipated that most patients will be transitioned by October 2023.

HIZENTRA AU will continue to be manufactured from Australia’s plasma and is approved by the Therapeutics Goods Administration (TGA) in accordance with usual high standards of safety and quality.

This NBA handout provides details and timing for the transition.

pdfHIZENTRA AU Handout 332.10 KB

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Venom Immunotherapy Practice Survey - July 2023

Venom Immunotherapy - Australian Practice Survey 
 
Background and Rationale
 

For individuals with life-threatening insect allergies, venom immunotherapy (VIT) has unique potential to provide long-term protection from ongoing allergic disease risks and associated quality of life burdens. Despite being publicly-funded (PBS listed in Australia) in reliable supply and potentially life-saving, VIT utilization rates per capita appear to vary considerably between different regions of Australia. It is likely that regional variation in VIT utilization rates may reflect variations in disease patterns due to biogeographical, social and occupational factors. However, there is also great interest to understand how local models of care may influence VIT utilization rates.

Currently there is a lack of data to inform this evaluation, which this survey aims to address. It is hoped that analysis of data on VIT practices from this survey and data on VIT utilization (from the supplier Stallergenes Greer) can identify barriers and opportunities for facilitating patient access to VIT in Australia.

This survey has been designed by A/Prof Kymble Spriggs with support from the Stallergenes Greer Medical Department, who will supply complementary data on VIT utilization. Data from the survey will be analysed by A/Prof. Spriggs in collaboration with a panel of clinical experts to develop a public report of the survey outcomes. It is hoped that this report may inform potential future approaches for the management of VIT in Australia, complementing ongoing projects and initiatives supported by ASCIA, the National Allergy Centre of Excellence (NACE) and the National Allergy Council (NAC).

The survey is available at  https://forms.gle/qngTnKEYaPyMb6Vp7 and  closes on Monday 28th August 2023.

Survey results will only be presented in summary form and your name and practice will not be used in any report made available in the public domain. Completion of this form will constitute consent for use of the data provided. 

If you have any questions about the survey, please contact A/Prof. Kymble Spriggs (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.). 

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ASCIA Progress Report - NAC Shared Care for Allergy Project - July 2023

ASCIA Progress Report - National Allergy Council (NAC) Shared Care for Allergy (SCA) Project 

ASCIA’s involvement in the National Allergy Council Shared Care project includes:

  • Advocacy to increase access to care, including food and drug challenges, to improve diagnosis and management of allergic conditions.
  • Education, training and mentorship of health professionals, to improve knowledge and experience in managing allergic conditions.

For the latest update go to https://www.allergy.org.au/about-ascia/info-updates/ascia-update-shared-care-project

Shared Care Consultation Meetings

ASCIA actively promoted the Shared Care consultation meetings to ASCIA members and other health professionals through e-newsletters, direct email and social media. This resulted in a range of health professionals being well represented at these meetings throughout Australia. Feedback to ASCIA from meeting participants has been positive and they have welcomed the opportunity to provide input.

Gap Analysis – Anaphylaxis and Allergy Training

ASCIA is undertaking scoping work to determine the current allergy training being provided in medical and allied health professional undergraduate degrees/certificates.

ASCIA has progressed an extensive gap analysis to scope the current anaphylaxis and allergy training provided to undergraduate students for a range of  health disciplines. ASCIA will engage with relevant stakeholders to determine the benefits, enablers and barriers for incorporating anaphylaxis and allergy training into undergraduate courses.

  • An initial scoping report of current providers of undergraduate healthcare degrees has been completed.
  • ASCIA has developed a comprehensive list of contacts for tertiary institutions that provide degrees for medical practitictioners (including general practitioners, physicians and paediatricians), nurses, nurse practitioners, psychologists, dietitians, and paramedics.

Surveys evaluating ASCIA anaphylaxis and allergy e-training courses for health professionals have been undertaken:

  • Data from voluntary post-training evaluation surveys for ASCIA anaphylaxis e-training for health professionals from December 2021 to December 2022 has been analysed and results entered into a report which is available here.
    pdfHP Anaphylaxis Report 2022694.21 KB and also on the ASCIA website https://www.allergy.org.au/ascia-reports
  • Data collected from January 2023 to December 2023 from mandatory e-training surveys will be analysed and reports will be developed in early 2024
  • Further reports will be developed from survey data collected on annual basis.

The following surveys to determine the current anaphylaxis and allergy training in undergraduate health professional degrees have been developed in Qualtrics 

  • Survey 1 in July-August 2023 for health professional graduates to understand their undergraduate experience of anaphylaxis and allergy training. This survey was implemented by promotion through health professional organisations, e-newsletters, direct email and social media. 
  • Survey 2 in October-December 2023 for representatives from institutions and is available at https://www.allergy.org.au/hp. This survey is being implemented by contacting relevant stakeholders. ASCIA has developed a comprehensive list of contacts for tertiary institutions that provide degrees for health disciplines which are approved by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA).  

The results of all of the surveys listed above will be summarised in reports to:

  • Highlight factors influencing the decision to incorporate anaphylaxis and allergy training in undergraduate degrees.
  • Provide insights into the benefits of including anaphylaxis and allergy training for future health professionals.
  • Outline potential improvements in ASCIA e-training courses based on feedback in the reports on ASCIA anaphylaxis and allergy e-training courses for health professionals.
  • Provide feedback to assist in developing consistent minimum standards/competencies for anaphylaxis and allergy training across institutions.

Gap Analysis – Resource Management

A comprehensive review of ASCIA website resources accessible to patients, carers and health professionals has been completed on 31 May 2023. Each individual resource has been catalogued in a spreadsheet that now forms an integral part of the collaborative gap analysis. This spreadsheet will be maintained and updated on a continual basis as new and revised resources become available.  The intention is to have this available open access on the ASCIA website www.allergy.org.au/about-ascia/website-information#s1

Promotion of Patient/Carer Support Organisations 

  • ASCIA Fast Facts have provided concise, reliable and easy to read information about allergies and other immune system disorders since they were first developed in 2019. ASCIA Fast Facts are the first online resources for patients and carers that have been reviewed and updated in 2023 to ensure that plain language is used where possible, and links to patient and carer support organisations are included at the top of each document. These updates have been made by ASCIA as part of the National Allergy Council Shared Care for Allergy project. The updated ASCIA Fast Facts are available at www.allergy.org.au/patients/fast-facts on 20 topics.
  • ASCIA Dietary Guides for Food Allergy have been updated with links to patient and carer support organisations included at the top of each document. The previous versions had blue “Dietary Guide” headers which are no longer used, as it is important to make it clear that these resources are for patients and carers and “Dietary Guide” is now stated in the title of each document. In October 2022 each of the 11 Dietary Guide webpages were updated to include ReadSpeaker, to improve accessibility. The updated ASCIA Dietary Guides for Food Allergy are available at www.allergy.org.au/patients/food-allergy/ascia-dietary-avoidance-for-food-allergy for 10 allergen groups, as well as general information in a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) for patients and carers.
  • ASCIA Dietary Guides for the Four Food Elimination Diet (4FED) and Two Food Elimination Diet (2FED) for Eosinophilic Oesophagitis (EoE) have been updated with links to patient and carer support organisations included at the top of each document. The previous versions had blue “Dietary Guide” headers which are no longer used, as it is important to make it clear that these resources are for patients and carers and “Dietary Guide” is now stated in the title of each document. ReadSpeaker is available on the Dietary Guide webpages to improve accessibility. The updated ASCIA Dietary Guides for EoE are available at 

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ASCIA Progress Report - NAC Schools and CEC Project - July 2023

ASCIA Progress Report - National Allergy Council (NAC) Schools and Children’s Education/Care (CEC) Project

ASCIA’s involvement in the NAC Schools and CEC project includes education and training of staff in schools and CEC services, to improve knowledge about management of allergies and anaphylaxis. 

Gap analysis to determine current allergy education being provided

  • Initial scoping research detailing the progress of the gap analysis has been completed.
  • The full gap analysis is expected to be completed by 31 December 2023.

Surveys

  • A survey for people studying and/or working within the education industry (schools and children’s education/care services) to determine how anaphylaxis training is being provided in undergraduate courses was completed during June 2023 and was available at www.allergy.org.au/schools-childcare which was promoted via newsletters, direct email and social media. Analysis of the survey data is expected to be completed by 31 December 2023. 
  • Mandatory evaluation surveys were added to these courses in January 2023 and survey data from January to July 2023 will be analysed. Based on this data, ASCIA will develop a plan by November 2023 to consult with users, which is likely to include conducting focus groups. 
  • Data from voluntary post-training evaluation surveys for ASCIA anaphylaxis e-training for Schools and Children's Education/Care (CEC) from December 2021 to December 2022 has been evaluated and results will inform course reviews and updates. Reports are available here: 

    pdfSchools 2022 Report629.44 KB   

    pdfCEC 2022 Report583.28 KB

The results of these surveys will be summarised in reports to:

  • Highlight factors influencing the decision to incorporate anaphylaxis training in undergraduate degrees.
  • Provide insights into the benefits of including anaphylaxis training for future educators.
  • Outline potential improvements in ASCIA e-training courses based on feedback.
  • Provide feedback to assist in developing consistent minimum standards/competencies for anaphylaxis training across institutions.

Updating ASCIA anaphylaxis e-training for schools and CEC

Major updates have been made to these courses in June and July 2023 to include the 2023 versions of ASCIA Action Plan for Anaphylaxis (red), ASCIA Action Plan for Allergic Reactions (green), ASCIA Action Plan for Drug (Medication) Allergy (dark green) and ASCIA First Aid Plan for Anaphylaxis (orange). Details of the updates are on the ASCIA website: https://www.allergy.org.au/about-ascia/info-updates/new-2023-versions-of-ascia-action-plans-for-anaphylaxis

ASCIA has developed new 2023 versions of ASCIA Action Plans for Anaphylaxis and ASCIA First Aid Plans for Anaphylaxis, to improve ease of use, which are available from June 2023 onwards. This is the first major formatting change in 20 years, since ASCIA Action Plans for Anaphylaxis were first introduced in 2003. The plans can be accessed on the ASCIA website:

Increase the uptake of ASCIA anaphylaxis refresher training by schools and CEC 

  • ASCIA anaphylaxis refresher e-training courses for schools, CEC and community have been promoted in monthly ASCIA Community newsletters from July 2022 to June 2023. These newsletters are sent to more than 5,000 recipients each month.
  • A promotion plan for ASCIA social media has been developed, to be implemented from July 2023 onwards 
  • From 1 July 2021 to 30 June 2022 there were 6,028 enrolments for ASCIA Anaphylaxis Refresher e-training of which 681 had not yet completed the course.
  • From 1 July 2022 to 30 June 2023 there were 5,277 enrolments for ASCIA Anaphylaxis Refresher e-training of which 653 had not yet completed the course.

Maintain ASCIA anaphylaxis e-training for schools and CEC services

  • In addition to the June/July updates, courses have been updated in January 2023 and September 2022 to include addition of mandatory evaluation surveys and product changes (Anapen and EpiPen).
  • Once evaluation reports are completed further course improvements will be made.

Provide support for users of the ASCIA anaphylaxis e-training for schools and CEC

  • ASCIA provides ongoing email and online support for ASCIA anaphylaxis e-training for schools and CEC services.
  • ASCIA responds to approximately 300 inquiries regarding the courses per month.

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Alfamino® Formula for Infants with Cow's Milk Allergy - July 2023

Nestlé Health Science has advised that they will be out of stock of the current recipe of Alfamino® 400g specialised formula for infants with cow's milk allergy  from around mid-July until the end of August 2023. They expect that it will be available again in pharmacies around early September.

pdfAlfamino stock notification for parents and carers114.08 KB

Nestlé Health Science is aware of the difficulties this will pose for some parents and caregivers, and apologise for this situation.  

Alfamino® infant formula has a new recipe. Nestlé Health Science awaits PBS listing confirmation for this product to be able to supply it through pharmacies at the PBS subsidised price. In the interim period, the new recipe Alfamino® will be available to parents and caregivers through the online Nestlé Baby Store Products – Nestlé Baby Store (nestlebaby.com.au). The new recipe Alfamino® continues to be an amino acid based infant formula for infants (0-12 months) with severe cow’s milk protein allergy, eosinophilic oesophagitis, intestinal malabsorption and/or multiple food intolerances. Parents and carers should speak to their healthcare professional for advice. For more information, contact Nestlé Health Science Consumer Services on 1800 671 628.  

ALFAMINO® is an infant formula product for special dietary use and must be used under medical supervision. It is not suitable for general use.

The ASCIA Guide for Milk Substitutes in Cow’s Milk Allergy provides information about safe, nutritionally equivalent alternatives for infants with cow’s milk allergy, if a particular specialised formula is not available due to supply issues.. The ASCIA Guide is available at https://www.allergy.org.au/hp/papers/guide-for-milk-substitutes-cows-milk-allergy 

IMPORTANT NOTICE: Breast milk is best for babies and provides ideal nutrition.  Good maternal nutrition is important for the preparation and maintenance of breastfeeding.  Introducing partial bottle feeding could negatively affect breastfeeding and reversing a decision not to breastfeed is difficult.  Professional advice should be followed on infant feeding.  Infant formula should be prepared and used exactly as directed or it could pose a health hazard.  The preparation requirements and weekly cost of providing infant formula until 12 months of age should be considered before making a decision to formula feed. Mothers should be encouraged to continue breastfeeding even when their infants have cow’s milk protein allergy. If a decision to use an infant formula for special dietary use is taken, it must be used under medical supervision.

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