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AusPharm news

Poll: Christmas decorations in a multicultural Australia : 10/12/2008 :

Continuing with our Christmas themed polls for now....

The composition of the Australian population has changed big time in the last few decades. Whereas once upon a time the majority of the population would tick 'Christian' in their census form, the proportion doing in 2008 so would be far less.

Is it still appropriate to put up Christmas decorations in the pharmacy in a society where a bare majority (at best) are Christian?

What happens in the pharmacy you work in - please let us know by ticking the relevant box in today's AusPharm poll below.

Poll Result: Christmas Gift Sales : 10/12/2008 :

With Christmas closing in, AusPharm got to wondering whether the sale of Christmas gift items still accounted for a significant proportion of trade in pharmacies in 2008.

Thanks to the 99 'Listers who responded, we learned that the trade in Christmas gifts remains a significant proportion of sales in 45% of respondents' pharmacies. 24% of respondents reported a moderate trade in sales of gift items and a further 12% described a limited trade, with the store participating as much for "Christmas Cheer" as anything. The remaining 14% said the market was non-existent for them and they had elected to leave the trinkets and gift wrapping to other retailers.

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New NPS RADAR covers once daily tramadol, quetiapine : 09/12/2008 :

The latest issue of NPS RADAR (link), just released, contains reviews of new once-daily formulations of tramadol (Durotram XR) and quetiapine (Seroquel XR).

According to NPS Deputy CEO Karen Kay, “With a number of tramadol formulations now available, with different dosing frequencies and brand names, it’s particularly important to provide clear information to patients to avoid confusion and possible errors.”

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Phone A Friend: Pharmacist's Support Service to go National : 09/12/2008 :

Since 1995, Victorian pharmacists have had access to a free, confidential, 24-hour telephone support service. Staffed by volunteer pharmacists with extensive counselling and support training, the Pharmacist's Support Service (PSS) is an initiative of the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) Victorian Branch.

Now, thanks to a $15,000 grant of seeding funding provided by Pharmaceutical Defence Limited (PDL), the service is set to expand into states beyond Victoria.

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RGH E-Bulletin: Other therapies for prevention / treatment of dementia (part 1) : 08/12/2008 :

The topic of this week's RGH E-Bulletin is Other therapies for prevention / treatment of dementia (part 1).

"Cholinesterase inhibitors and memantine are the main classes of medications currently available to help manage cognitive ymptoms of dementia, but neither of these alters the underlying pathology of the dementia, and neither is indicated for revention of dementia. A number of other drugs/therapies have been suggested as having possible benefits in the revention and treatment of dementia, but evidence is limited. Next week’s E-bulletin will also outline evidence for inkgo biloba, statins, hormone therapy, NSAIDs, and vitamin E."

Click here to read the bulletin in full.

The E-Bulletin is archived and previous editions can be viewed on the AusPharm website here.

MIMS December 2008 Prescribing Update : 08/12/2008 :

The MIMS December 2008 prescribing update is now available. Click the link to read it now.

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Poll: is Christmas a *big thing* in your pharmacy? : 08/12/2008 :

Only 16 sleeps left until Christmas!  Is Christmas a *big thing* in your pharmacy? Does your pharmacy have a big gift section and really go for it during December? Or is Christmas trade something you leave to the 'retailers' in your location? Are you somewhere in the middle?

Please let us know what happens in your pharmacy by ticking the relevant box in the first of our polls with Christmas theme.

Poll Result: Disciplining Children in the Pharmacy : 08/12/2008 :

Following Irwin the Evil Chemist's feature  article on dealing with unruly children, we asked 'Listers to tell us how you tackle similar scenarios on your territory.

The results (n=105) suggest the majority of pharmacists (62%, illustrated in orange) tend to take an active role in controlling unruly children in the pharmacy. Most respondents indicated they would either verbally discipline the children themselves (26%) or request that the parents discipline the children (25%). Only 4% of respondents indicated they would take the somewhat riskier tack of dishing out some physical discipline to the children themselves.

Of those favouring a more passive approach (38%, illustrated in blue), most elected to either allow the parents to discipline their children (17%) or ignore the children's bad behaviour (15%).

Click on the link to see more detail.

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Webstercare December newsletter : 05/12/2008 :

Every second month our friends at Webstercare produce a newsletter that is distributed to all aged care homes throughout Australia.

They have kindly agreed to allow 'listers to access the newsletter through the (e)news. Each issue contains a Continuing Education feature and, while this is designed to be read by RACF staff, pharmacists will also find it interesting and, hopefully, enlightening as well.

Click here to download the Webstercare December 2008 newsletter in full (1.3mg pdf). Click here if you have any feedback, suggestions or queries about the newsletter.

NPS responds to ADRAC reports on Champix : 05/12/2008 :

The National Prescribing Service Limited (NPS) has advised people taking the quit-smoking drug varenicline (marketed in Australia as Champix) to speak to their GP or pharmacist or contact Medicines Line (1300 888 763) if they are concerned about possible side effects.

This follows concerns raised in the December ADRAC Bulletin relating to a number of adverse reaction reports for varenicline which included depression, aggression, agitation, abnormal dreams, insomnia, hallucination and anger as well as reports of suicidal/self-injurious ideation or behaviour.

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API appoint Michael Wooldridge Lead independent Director : 05/12/2008 :

The Board of API yesterday announced the appointment of Former Howard Government Health Minister Dr Michael Wooldridge as 'Lead independent' Director. Dr Wooldridge was first appointed to the API Board in February 2006.

The Lead Independent Director can assume the role of Chair when the Chair is unavailable or unable to act in that capacity due to lack of independence. The position also offers an alternative point of contact for shareholders.

Dr Wooldridge's appointment follows the recent retirement of Barry Frost as Deputy Chairman and Director of API.

Poll: Controlling unruly children : 04/12/2008 :

Irwin the Evil Chemist's latest  feature article about coping with screaming brats at the coal face has inspired AusPharm to enquire how all the other coal-miners cope with similar scenarios.

Do you roar your head off? Keep mum and fervently pray the parents will take things in hand before too much stock gets damaged? Or maintain a resident dragon-lady on staff to mete out ad hoc justice?

We look forward to hearing how you deal with unruly children in your workplace. Please tell us by participating in this week's AusPharm poll below.

NPS findings on attitudes towards complementary medicines : 03/12/2008 :

GPs and pharmacists believe they don’t have enough access to evidence-based information about complementary medicines* and as a result are not confident discussing complementary medicines with their patients, according to preliminary findings from research into the information needs of consumers, GPs and pharmacists conducted by the National Prescribing Service Ltd (NPS).

The NPS research included determining the attitudes of consumers, GPs and pharmacists towards complementary medicines; communication about complementary medicine use; information sources; and information gaps and needs. Reports on the research findings are due for public release in early December.

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December ADRAC Bulletin highlights Champix : 03/12/2008 :

The December ADRAC Bulletin, published this week, reminds prescribers to advice patients of the possibility of neuropsychiatric side-effects, mainly behavioural changes, agitation and depression which may occur when taking varenicline.

ADRAC reports that to October 2008, it had received 339 adverse reaction reports with varenicline, 255 (72%) of which describe psychiatric symptoms including depression, aggression, agitation, abnormal dreams, insomnia, hallucination and anger. There have also been reports of suicidal/self-injurious ideation or behaviour.

You can read the December ADRAC Bulletin in full here.

Poll Result: Birth Order Data for AusPharm Pharmacists : 03/12/2008 :

A recent discussion amongst a group of about 10 pharmacist colleagues which revealed we were all first borns sparked this weeks poll, which asked 'Listers about their place in their families.

Based on your responses (n=235), it would seem pharmacy is indeed a career-magnet for first-born children (52%), with middle children and the "babies" of the family representing 25% and 22% respectively.

Nine percent of respondents were only children, 33% came from families of 2 children, and 58% from families of 3 or more children. Unfortunately Australian population statistics for parity and ordinal position were not easy to source, so we can't tell you how that compares to the wider community (Research project anyone??). Popular theory holds however that only children and first-born children have more invested in their education, are more likey to attend university, and often have a responsible, serious attitude - all traits that manifest in pharmacy as a career!

For those of you interested in some further reading on traits related to birth order, take a peek here and here and here.

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Insurance to close the sausage factories: postscript : 02/12/2008 :

AusPharm recently published an article by Ron Batagol  in which he proposed that "the Professional Indemnity Insurer .... before accepting a proposal or renewal from a pharmacist for Professional Indemnity - require pharmacists to sign a declaration of compliance with the established professional standards for dispensing prescriptions and counselling patients about their medications."

Our friends at Guild Insurance and PDL have had a look at this for us and have provided a comment. AusPharm's thanks go to both of these organisations for their assistance with this.

"While appreciating the underlying sentiment here posting, the suggestion put forward is both misconceived at law and unworkable from a practical perspective."

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Pharmacy historian Radley West wins 2008 Bowl of Hygeia Award : 02/12/2008 :

Pharmacy historian Radley West has won PSA Qld's premier annual award, the Bowl of Hygeia for 2008.

The Bowl of Hygeia Award was introduced in 1980 to commemorate the Centenary of the Society. It is awarded to pharmacists who have demonstrated a consistently high standard of professional practice in support of the principles of pharmacy service to the community. It also recognises an exceptional individual service to the profession.

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New NPS patient resource on infective endocarditis : 02/12/2008 :

Health professionals can now access a new information leaflet explaining recent changes to infective endocarditis guidelines, which has been developed by the National Prescribing Service for consumers.

In July 2008, Therapeutic Guidelines published revised guidelines for the use of antibiotic prophylaxis for preventing infective endocarditis.

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Lifestyle messages timely for hypertension patients : 01/12/2008 :

Helping patients with hypertension remain healthy over the holiday season is a challenge that affects nearly all healthcare professionals, including pharmacists.

In the December edition of Australian Prescriber, published today, healthcare professionals are reminded that routinely providing advice on smoking, nutrition, alcohol use, physical activity and body weight to patients with hypertension is particularly important at this time of year.

The article also includes information on integrating lifestyle advice into clinical management and resources for promoting lifestyle management to patients.

You can read the article in full here.

RGH E-Bulletin: Safety of inhaled bronchodilators in COPD : 01/12/2008 :

The topic of this week's RGH E-Bulletin is Safety of inhaled bronchodilators in COPD.

"Inhaled bronchodilators are the mainstay of therapy in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Earlier studies have suggested that long-acting beta agonists (LABAs) and ipratropium may be associated with increased mortality, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has an ongoing safety review of tiotropium in relation to stroke risk. However COPD itself is associated with significant morbidity and mortality due to cardiovascular disease, which makes it difficult to assess the possible contribution of medications. Several studies published during 2008 have investigated this issue."

Click here to read the bulletin in full.

The E-Bulletin is archived and previous editions can be viewed on the AusPharm website here.

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