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Medicines update

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Medicines update

Online UTI treatment module

A new interactive NPS MedicineWise case study on antibiotic treatment for urinary tract infection is now online.

The module: Urinary tract infections – exploring antibiotic treatment provides a real life clinical scenario with expert commentary from leading infectious diseases physician and microbiologist, Dr Tony Korman from Monash University, and questions to help participants focus on their clinical decision making.

The case study, about an 82-year-old woman highlights using antibiotics, reinforces health professional knowledge on the risk to patient safety posed by antibiotic resistance.

Several key concepts are covered, including: Diagnosing urinary tract infections (UTIs); Managing asymptomatic bacteriuria; Identifying empirical treatment and alternative management for UTIs; Identifying non-pharmacological interventions; and, Recurrent UTI prophylaxis.

The module, part of the NPS MedicineWise Reducing Antibiotic Resistance program for health professionals, can be viewed here.

Jury out on testosterone heart risk

European regulators have concluded that there is no consistent evidence of an increased risk of heart problems in men taking testosterone medicines to treat hypogonadism.

Some recent studies had suggested an increase in heart problems in men using testosterone, however a review by the European Medicines Agency Pharmacovigilance Risk Assessment Committee (PRAC) has found the evidence was inconsistent.

“Some studies suggested increased risk, while others did not, and some of the studies had problems with the design that limited the conclusions that could be drawn from them,” the committee concluded.

PRAC also noted that the lack of testosterone itself could increase the risk of heart problems.

It recommended updating product information in line with the latest evidence and to provide warnings about those who might be at increased risk of heart problems. The information should make it clear that testosterone should only be used when an abnormally low level of the hormone has been confirmed by signs and symptoms and appropriate laboratory tests.

Research presented to the American Heart Association annual meeting recently also found supplemental testosterone is safe for cardiovascular health.

Merck buys Ebola vaccine

Leading pharmaceutical manufacturer Merck has announced it is buying worldwide commercial rights to an experimental vaccine against the Ebola virus.

Iowa-based NewLink Genetics Corp, whose subsidiary licensed commercial rights to the rVSV-EBOV vaccine in 2010, said it would receive $50 million plus royalties from Merck & Co Inc.

Large late-stage trials of the product could begin early next year, said Merck, according to ABC News reports.

The Public Health Agency of Canada, which originally developed the vaccine, would retain non-commercial rights to it.


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