Asthma patients administer own drugs during coronavirus pandemic

Hundreds of severe asthma patients have been able to take their life-changing drugs throughout the coronavirus crisis thanks to quick-thinking hospital staff.

The severe asthma team at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust worked rapidly so patients on biological treatments – usually injected by staff in hospital – could be treated by themselves at home.

The patients were among those told to shield by the government, so without this approach they would have had to stop taking the treatment or go against official guidance by visiting the hospital.

Justin Ikpeamagheze, 36, from Norbury, has severe asthma and has been shielding throughout the pandemic.

He has taken one of the biologic therapies for around two years, having previously suffered from a huge asthma attack which left him in an induced coma.

Justin, pictured top, a teacher and actor, said: “I was diagnosed with asthma when I was 13 but I never took it that seriously and it didn’t affect me much.

“Then in my late-20s my asthma started to get worse and aged 31 I had a major asthma attack which left me in an induced coma for nine days.

“I was worried about accessing my injections during lockdown. I called the clinic and they were really helpful.

“They sorted it all for me and arranged for my injections to be delivered on a two-monthly basis.

“They explained how to inject them and offered to send a nurse to do it, but I was confident that I could do it, or that my girlfriend could.

“It was very reassuring to know I could still take them. The clinic followed up and made sure everything was ok with them, and they also provided shielding advice as I was concerned about returning to work.

“So far I’ve been able to work from home.

“I’m very grateful to the team, it really feels like they have my best interests at heart. They made what could have been a more stressful time a lot easier for me.”


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