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AusPharm news

Patients poorly understand their type 2 diabetes management : 03/08/2010 :

Some of the results of new research on the challenges patients face in management of type 2 diabetes have been released by Novartis Australia, with endorsement by the Pharmacy Guild. The research was conducted online among a representative sample (401) of Australians aged 18-64 with type 2 diabetes, and shows a low level of understanding among patients.

The report reveals that although 67% of respondents believe they know their blood glucose (HbA1c) target, only 17% are able to identify it correctly. 1 in 3 respondents consider their diabetes to be uncontrolled, while the same proportion admits they do not know what their optimal blood glucose levels should be.

According to Guild President, Kos Sclavos, the research reveals a surprising lack of knowledge among patients about the basics of managing type 2 diabetes.

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Efficacy of combined analgesics with less than 60mg codeine questioned : 03/08/2010 :

A recent Australian review of combination analgesics in adults, published in the August 2010 Australian Prescriber, concluded:

"...for acute postoperative pain there is evidence of efficacy for paracetamol 1g with codeine 60mg, and some evidence for paracetamol combined with codeine in hip osteoarthroses. Current guidelines do not support the use of paracetamol and codeine combination products in other acute or chronic pain states.
    There are limited data for doses of codeine less than 60mg in combination with paracetamol, and current data suggest that paracetamol alone has greater efficacy than paracetamol combined with codeine at doses under 60mg.
    Current evidence shows improved analgesia with codeine 60mg and ibuprofen 400mg compared to ibuprofen alone, but there are minimal data for lower doses.
    Indirect comparisons show that the combination of aspirin and codeine may be less efficacious than aspirin alone and therefore the combination cannot be recommended. Given the lack of documented analgesic efficacy of low-dose codeine preparations, rescheduling of codeine in Australia is unlikely to impact significantly on analgesic options, but may reduce the harms from overuse."

The NPS supports the findings of the paper, saying that they are in line with NPS reviews of evidence that show when treating acute pain, only modest additional pain relief is achieved when codeine is added to other analgesics.

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RADAR reservations on paracetamol/caffeine product : 03/08/2010 :

With the availability of Panadol Extra (paracetamol/caffeine) as a pharmacy-only medicine for temporary pain relief from 1 May 2010, the August issue of RADAR includes timely advice and reservations about the use of this OTC product. The article reports that although caffeine is claimed to enhance the efficacy of paracetamol, peak plasma levels and extent of absorption are similar for paracetamol with caffeine and paracetamol alone. Compared with paracetamol alone, a person taking the combination of paracetamol with caffeine may be more likely to experience adverse effects than to get improved analgesia.

Other items in this issue of RADAR include:

  • Gliptins for type 2 diabetes mellitus, with the addition of Vildagliptin (Galvus)  to the PBS. Like sitagliptin (Januvia), it can be prescribed with metformin or a sulfonylurea when a combination of these drugs is contraindicated or not tolerated.
  • A new adrenaline autoinjector (Anapen) for emergency treatment of anaphylaxis. It has a substantially different administration technique to that of EpiPen.
  • Methoxyflurane (Penthrox) for analgesia (doctor’s bag listing).
  • Melatonin prolonged-release tablets (Circadin) for short term use in primary insomnia in people 55 years and over.
  • Colchicine for acute gout - updated information about dosing and drug interactions.

RADAR, the Rational Assessment of Drugs and Research, is an NPS publication.

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MIMS Monthly Medicine Update : 03/08/2010 :

The MIMS August 2010 Monthly Medicine Update is now available. Click the link to read it now.

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CHOICE trial doubts value of expensive shampoos : 02/08/2010 :

A recent CHOICE trial of 11 shampoos amongst 40 panellists found that the cheaper shampoos rated more highly overall than the expensive ones, when tested for cleaning, fragrance and consistency. From an ingredient viewpoint, little difference was found between the products. The premium priced products tend to have better fragrance, packaging and marketing but the basic cleaning functionality of the products is much the same.

"Amid all the marketing hype, the basic purpose of shampoo is to clean your hair and scalp," said CHOICE spokesman Brad Schmitt. "Beyond that, shampoo is a case of personal preference, but our trial proves price is no indication of quality or popularity and with the expensive brands you could be pouring money down the drain."

The full survey can be viewed at www.choice.com.au/shampoo.

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Flu shots for under fives can be resumed with Vaxigrip or Influvac : 02/08/2010 :

The Chief Medical Officer has issued updated advice on seasonal flu vaccination for young children (under 5 years of age).

Continued close monitoring of side effects with this year's seasonal flu vaccine in children under five has shown that the higher than usual occurrence of fever and febrile convulsions appears to be confined to Fluvax (CSL). The CMO advises parents that they can now seek advice from their doctor or vaccine provider to use other brands - Vaxigrip (Sanofi Pasteur), Influvac (Abbott) - if they want their young children vaccinated.

To date and explanation for the higher than expected observed rates of fever and febrile convulsions with Fluvax has not been found, but investigations continue.

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New executive director takes over at ASMI : 02/08/2010 :

As announced in February, Deon Schoombie took over the executive directorship of the self-medication industry lobby group, ASMI on 30 July 2010. Former executive director Juliet Seifert has stood down after 21 years, to spend more time with family.

Since mid-2004, Dr Schoombie was ASMI's scientific director. Steven Scarff, solicitor and former regulatory affairs staffer with J&J Pacific and Pfizer Consumer Healthcare, was appointed as replacement regulatory and scientific affairs director in June 2010.

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1 month's grace if registration due to expire : 02/08/2010 :

AHPRA has issued brief advice giving pharmacists a one month grace period if their registration is about to expire. If registration renewal has fallen due, it can be renewed online using the registration ID number and the password (posted out to registrants recently by AHPRA).

Provided pharmacist registration is renewed within one month of it falling due, pharmacists will remain registered under a grace period and can continue to work. If renewal is applied for after the one month grace period, a late fee will apply as well as the registration fee.

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RGH E-Bulletin: Central post-stroke pain : 02/08/2010 :

The topic of this week's RGH E‑Bulletin is Central post-stroke pain.

"Central post-stroke pain (CPSP) is a chronic pain disorder resulting from a lesion or dysfunction of the central nervous system. Previously known as the "thalamic syndrome", CPSP has been shown in early post-mortem studies and modern imaging techniques to also occur in extrathalamic lesions. Frequent co-existing pain in stroke patients and variability in onset, presentation and intensity of CPSP, as well as the lack of diagnostic criteria, makes diagnosis of this disorder complex. Currently, the Western Australian Therapeutic Advisory Group recommends tricyclic antidepressants as the first line treatment for CPSP and lamotrigine as the second line approach."

Click here to read the bulletin in full. The E‑Bulletins are archived on the AusPharmList website here.

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PAC earlybird registration closes tomorrow : 31/07/2010 :

Early Bird Registrations for PAC10 close tomorrow so there is still time to get a special deal and take advantage of the wide range of sessions and activities available. PSA members can save $150 if they register early - non members can save $250.

One area of particular interest is the introduction of mandatory continuing professional development for pharmacists under the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme which has raised many issues and a question often asked is, “How is this going to work for me?”

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IMS Health - ACP Young Pharmacist Innovation Grant : 30/07/2010 :

The Australian College of Pharmacy (ACP) announced yesterday that Jana Fulcher had been chosen as the 2010 recipient of the IMS Health - College Young Pharmacist Innovation Grant.

The grant will send a selected young pharmacist to this year's FIP Conference to be held in Lisbon from the 28th August to the 2nd September.

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Good news for Bright Young Things : 30/07/2010 :

The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia has established a dedicated area on its website for Early Career Pharmacists.

The website provides an avenue for ECPs to monitor the progress of the PSA’s ECP Working Group projects, submissions and activities. It also provides a link to the ECP Facebook page.

Chair of the ECP Working Group, Justin Lee, said the projects section of the site contains the results of the recent ECP survey that was conducted earlier in the year.

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Pharmacists slow to embrace Issues Paper : 30/07/2010 :

Some two months after PSA released its Issues Paper on the Future of Pharmacy less than a third of the respondents to this week's AusPharm poll say they have read it. However, another one third of respondents say they still plan to have a look.

The results of the poll aren't too different to an identical poll we ran a month ago asking 'listers if they'd read the Guild's The Roadmap - The Strategic Direction for Community Pharmacy.

You can download the Issues Paper here and the Roadmap here. AusPharm's read them and commends them both to you.

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Future of Pharmaceutical, Device & Biological Manufacturing in Australia : 29/07/2010 :

The International Society For Pharmaceutical Engineering's Australasian Affiliate has organised a Leadership Forum which will focus on "The Future of Pharmaceutical, Medical Device and Biological Manufacturing In Australia".

This national event for industry and government representatives will be held on 17 August 2010 (12-5pm) commencing with lunch, at the Hilton Hotel, 488 George Street, Sydney. 

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How to avoid medicine interactions covered in latest MedicinesTalk : 28/07/2010 :

The latest edition of the NPS consumer resource MedicinesTalk looks at what medicine interactions are, what can happen and how to avoid problems.

"If you are taking a medicine – whether it is a prescription, over-the-counter or complementary medicine – there’s a chance you may experience a medicine interaction. This is because any of these types of medicine can interact with each other, and with some foods and drinks."

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Poll: Have you read PSA's Issues Paper on Pharmacy's Future? : 28/07/2010 :

In May 2010, the PSA published their 53-page Issues Paper on the Future of Pharmacy in Australia, based on interviews with 30 key opinion leaders across the pharmacy sector. There has been more talk on this topic with last Friday's first meeting of the "Future of Pharmacy Stakeholder Forum". John Jackson's feature article on AusPharm this week maps out the direction pharmacy is headed in other countries and shares some thoughts on what Australian pharmacists, as a collective, need to do.

It seems the time is ripe for pharmacists to decide in what direction the profession is heading. As a launch point for this, have you read the ideas expressed in the PSA's Issues Paper? Please let us know by clicking the relevant box in today's AusPharm poll.

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PHARMeFOOTY weekly wrap : 28/07/2010 :

NRL Round 20 was a tight contest with only 2 tipsters selecting the 8 winners. It was A. Wong from Lakeside Pharmacy with the best margin so takes the weekly prize. In 2nd place was Michael Bates of City Pharmacy - MLC Centre with Todd Bartlett from Health Focus in 3rd spot.

AFL Round 17 saw just the 4 tipsters select all 8 winners. Tony Falloon from Bellingen had the best margin so is this weeks prize winner, well done Tony. In 2nd place was Linh Doan with Briony Monagle of Frost's Pharmacy in 3rd spot.

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Influenza readiness - Kung Flu Fighter campaign : 28/07/2010 :

The Pharmacy Guild is pleased with the outcome of its Kung Flu Fighter campaign, which has seen community pharmacies provided with a 60-day supply of facemasks, and training opportunities in infection control and business continuity planning in the event of an influenza pandemic.

The 2009 (H1N1) influenza pandemic demonstrated how quickly supplies of face masks can become exhausted in a crisis. “As soon as a pandemic starts we know masks become harder to get and protecting pharmacy staff from infection will be critical.” Guild President, Kos Sclavos said. Large pharmacies (average 15 full time employees,over 65000 scripts per year) are eligible to receive a further 3000 face masks; these can be requested online.

Given the positive response to the training opportunities in the campaing, the Department of Health and Ageing has provided further funding to the Guild to continue workshops until the end of August 2010.


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UK Health Minister allows homeopathy to remain on NHS : 28/07/2010 :

The UK health minister, Anne Milton, has this week issued a statement allowing homoeopathic remedies and treatment to continue to be funded within the NHS.

Although she is said to have welcomed an MPs report by the Commons Science and Technology Committee finding that homoeopathic remedies are no more effective than placebo, it appears that the products and their practitioners will continue to be funded by the NHS rather than being paid for by those who choose to use them.

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PAC sessions for pharmacy assistants : 27/07/2010 :

A special part of the Pharmacy Australia Congress (PAC) this year will be devoted to pharmacy assistants with education sessions tailored specifically to their needs.

The day-long program on Saturday, 30 October, will include units from the Diploma of Management being delivered in a small group workshop for senior pharmacy assistants, pharmacy managers or those wanting to progress to a more senior level in the pharmacy.

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