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Experts urge Aussies with COPD to act to prevent flare-ups as research reveals many sufferers are not seeking help

Date: 01 June 2021
  • A new treatment for adults with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), Trimbow®, is available on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) from 1 June 2021.1
  • Newly released research from Lung Foundation Australia reveals that 42% of people with COPD* do not visit a medical professional when experiencing a flare-up, and the majority (64%) do not have a management plan in place.2
  • While around 1 in 7 Australians aged 40 years and over have some form of COPD,3 stigma around the condition is still high among the general public (41%) and even friends and family (24%;19%).2


Melbourne, Australia – A new treatment for adults with moderate to severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) becomes available from June 1 on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) – Trimbow®, the first triple therapy in an inhaler (puffer) device.


Trimbow® is a triple combination of an inhaled corticosteroid, beclometasone; long-acting beta2-agonist, formoterol; and a long-acting muscarinic antagonist, glycopyrronium. Trimbow® helps to relieve and prevent symptoms such as shortness of breath, wheezing and cough in adults with COPD. Trimbow® enables three medicines to be taken in one inhaler device.


Chronic lower respiratory diseases are the fifth leading cause of death in Australia.5 Around 1 in 7 Australians aged 40 years and over have some form of COPD3 – a serious, progressive, long-term disease in which the airways become blocked and air sacs inside the lungs become damaged, leading to difficulty breathing.9 COPD is the second leading cause of avoidable hospital admissions in Australia.3


Newly released Lived Experience research commissioned by Lung Foundation Australia has found a large proportion of those surveyed with COPD (42%) do not see a health professional when having a flare-up.2 Concerningly, the majority (64%) also do not have a written management plan in place, and do not have regularly scheduled GP (49%) or specialist visits (48%) to review their condition.2


Professor Christine Jenkins AM, Lung Foundation Australia Chair and Head of the Respiratory Group at The George Institute for Global Health, said it was important people with COPD did not become complacent, especially in the lead-up to winter when flare-ups of COPD are more frequent.


“Many of the good habits we’ve learned over the past year, such as physical distancing, mask-wearing and practising good hand hygiene, have helped to minimise exposure to respiratory viruses that commonly trigger COPD flare-ups, so it is important that we don’t unlearn all those good habits,” Professor Jenkins said.


“It is vital that if people with COPD have a flare-up that they see a health professional. It is also important to keep on top of preventative measures such as having an updated management plan, regular visits with their GP, and booking in their annual influenza and pneumonia vaccinations.”


Trimbow® puffer is now funded on the PBS for the treatment of moderate to severe COPD patients at risk of flare-ups, who are still experiencing symptoms despite being on combination therapy.


As with other combination inhaler treatments for COPD, Trimbow® is generally well tolerated. Common side-effects (may affect up to 1 in 10 people) include sore throat, runny or stuffy nose and sneezing, fungal infections of the mouth, hoarseness and headache. COPD patients should speak to their doctor or other healthcare professional if they require further information about their condition or Trimbow®.

Professor Jenkins said it was important for patients to have access to multiple treatment and device options. It is also vital for people with COPD to talk to their GP about updating their management plan and having their medications and inhaler technique reviewed.


“COPD therapy is not one-size-fits all, so the continued introduction of new combination therapy and device options like Trimbow® is important to ensuring patients with all kinds of needs and at different stages of their condition have the right treatment options available to them.”


The research from Lung Foundation Australia also found that there is still a significant level of stigma surrounding COPD, with those surveyed stating that they often feel that they experience judgement from others because of their condition and the perception from others that they have brought it on themselves due to smoking.


Those surveyed said they had felt judgement primarily from strangers in the community (41%) but also from friends (24%), family (19%), work colleagues (26%) and even sometimes from those in the medical profession (28%).2


Lung Foundation Australia Chief Executive Officer Mark Brooke said stigma could cause a person with lung disease to retreat into themselves and even avoid seeking treatment or attempt to hide the severity of their condition from those around them.


“This means that they can feel largely unsupported and isolated while trying to deal with a chronic disease or a life-threatening disease,” he said. 


“COPD is a condition that touches many lives, so it is imperative we don’t let the conversation around COPD fall silent and people feel supported by society and loved ones to speak up and seek the help they need.”


Things people with COPD can do ahead of the winter season:


  • Connect with your GP or specialist to update your management plan and review your medications and inhaler technique.
  • Book in your annual influenza and pneumococcal pneumonia vaccinations, to reduce your risk of respiratory infection this winter season.
  • Download Lung Foundation Australia’s free action plan template and find out more about living well with COPD, by visiting com.au/protect or calling 1800 654 301.







About COPD


COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) is a preventable and treatable lung disease characterised by chronic obstruction of lung airflow that interferes with normal breathing and is not fully reversible. People with COPD may experience cough, sputum (phlegm) production, and/or shortness of breath.

COPD symptoms often don't appear until significant lung damage has occurred, which usually worsens over time.


An untreated flare-up can mean hospitalisation, and each flare-up does further damage to the lungs. Knowing the early signs of a flare-up and having an action plan in place will mean faster treatment resulting in a quicker and better recovery. Signs of a flare-up of the condition can include coughing more than usual, finding it harder to breathe than usual, any change in sputum (phlegm), and feeling more tired and less active than usual.


About the Lung Foundation Lived Experience Report


Lung Foundation Australia commissioned research to gain an in depth understanding of the lived experiences of those who have lung disease, their carers and families, so as to appropriately tailor LFA’s services and support. The research was conducted between February and June 2020.


*The findings included in this press release are from sections of the reporting detailing the experiences of people with COPD and/or emphysema, from the time of diagnosis to the current stage of their health journey.


This report is based on a total sample size of n=434 people:

  • n=388 people with COPD and/or emphysema; and
  • n=46 carers of someone with COPD and/or emphysema.


About Trimbow®9


Trimbow® is a medicine for inhalation use to help breathing that contains the three active substances:

  • beclometasone dipropionate,
  • formoterol (eformoterol) fumarate dihydrate and
  • glycopyrronium bromide (glycopyrrolate).


Beclometasone dipropionate belongs to a group of medicines called corticosteroids which act to reduce the swelling and irritation in the lungs.


Formoterol and glycopyrronium are medicines called long-acting bronchodilators. They act in different ways to relax the muscles in your airways, helping to open the airways wider and allowing you to breathe more easily.



Important Safety Information9


Trimbow® should not be taken if you are allergic to beclometasone dipropionate, formoterol fumarate dihydrate, glycopyrronium bromide or to any of the other ingredients of this medicine.


Trimbow® is not used for initial therapy. Trimbow® is used as a maintenance treatment for your COPD. Do not use this medicine to treat a sudden attack of breathlessness or wheezing.

There is a risk of worsening shortness of breath and wheezing immediately after using Trimbow®. If this occurs, you should stop using Trimbow® and use your quick-acting “reliever” inhaler straightaway to treat the shortness of breath and wheezing. You should contact your doctor straightaway.


Tell your doctor, pharmacist or nurse immediately if you notice any of the following:

  • allergic reactions like skin allergies, hives, skin itching, skin rash, reddening of the skin, swelling of the skin or mucous membranes especially of the eyes, face, lips and throat.
  • eye pain or discomfort, temporary blurring of vision, visual halos or coloured images in association with red eyes. These may be signs of an acute attack of narrow-angle glaucoma
  • Symptoms of a lung infection such as fever or chills, increased mucus production, change in mucus colour, or increased cough or increased breathing difficulties.


Common side effects (may affect up to 1 in 10 people) include sore throat, runny or stuffy nose and sneezing, fungal infections of the mouth, hoarseness, headache, urinary tract infection.



About Chiesi Australia


Chiesi Australia is the Australia-New Zealand division of the Chiesi Group, a global pharmaceutical company based in Parma, Italy. The Chiesi Group acquired Emerge Health in November 2019. The Chiesi Group (also known as Chiesi Farmaceutici) is an international research focused Group with over 80 years’ experience in healthcare, operating in 29 countries. The Group conducts research, develops treatment options and supplies innovative drugs to treat a wide range of conditions. The Group’s Research and Development Centre is based in Parma, Italy and coordinates the activities of four important R&D groups in France, USA, UK and Sweden to drive its own pre-clinical, clinical and registration programs. The Group continues to focus in areas of respiratory diseases, specialty care and rare diseases.



Additional Information

The information contained within this media release does not contain all the available information. It does not take the place of talking to a healthcare professional. Please speak to your doctor for further information about COPD or Trimbow®. For a copy of the Consumer Medicine

Information, please ask your healthcare professional.


In relation to this Chiesi Australia media announcement, no compensation was provided to

Professor Jenkins, Mark Brooke or the Lung Foundation and the opinions expressed are their own.


Media enquiries

For media enquiries, please contact our team on:

Phone: +61 3 9077 4486

Email: Info.au@chiesi.com







  1. Data on File: Trimbow PBS listing notification, Chiesi Australia.
  2. Data on File: Lung Foundation Australia. Lived Experience Report - People with COPD and/or Emphysema and their Carers. Prepared April 2021.
  3. Lung Foundation Australia. Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Fact Sheet. Available online: https://lungfoundation.com.au/resources/copd-fact-sheet/ [last accessed April 2021]
  4. TRIMBOW® Product Information, February 2021
  5. Australian Bureau of Statistics. 2019. Causes of death in Australia. Available online: https://www.abs.gov.au/statistics/health/causes-death/causes-death-australia/latest-release [last accessed April 2021]
  6. 2020. Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). Available online: https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/chronic-respiratory-conditions/copd/contents/copd [last accessed April 2021]
  7. Lung Foundation. COPD The Basics. 2018. Available online: https://lungfoundation.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/Book-COPD-The-Basics-Sep2018.pdf [last accessed 1 April 2021]
  8. Jenkins C, et al. Seasonality and determinants of moderate and severe COPD exacerbations in the TORCH study. Eur Respir J 2012; 39: 38–45. DOI: 10.1183/09031936.00194610
  9. Trimbow Consumer Medicine Information, October 2020.





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