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Medicines Update

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Medicines Update

Antibiotic strategy welcomed

The PSA welcomes the federal government’s announcement of a national strategy to reduce the threat of antibiotic resistance.

Recent data reveals Australia’s consumption of antibiotics is among the highest in the developed world with more than 29 million prescriptions for antibiotics supplied to more than 10 million patients - or 45 per cent of the population - in 2013.

NPS MedicineWise says it will undertake some key initiatives including a five year awareness campaign, targeted education programs for health professionals and data analysis to improve our understanding of antibiotic prescribing patterns.

“The Australian Government’s strategy is a very positive step in developing a cohesive and unified approach to addressing this growing problem,” said PSA national president Grant Kardachi.

“As the medications experts, pharmacists can play a vital role in educating patients and advising them on the appropriate use of antibiotics.

Updated PI for ivabradine

The product information (PI) for ivabradine (coralan) has been updated in an effort to reduce the risk of cardiovascular events in patients who take the medicine for angina.

The changes to ivabradine’s PI include alterations to its approved indications.

As revealed in the latest Medicines Safety Update, health professionals are advised that Ivabradine must not be initiated in patients who have a pre-treatment resting heart rate below 70 bpm and must not be used concomitantly with heart rate reducing calcium channel blockers, verapamil and diltiazem.

The drug has no benefit on cardiovascular outcomes, such as myocardial infarction or cardiovascular death, in patients with symptomatic chronic stable angina pectoris, the TGA advises.

Click here to see the revised indications for ivabradine.

Ring linked to VTE risk

Health professionals should be alert for thromboembolic risks among users of the Nuva Ring   (ethinylestradiol/etonogestrel vaginal ring).

In its latest Medicines Safety Update the TGA says the Nuva Ring should not be used by patients with a presence or history of, or known predisposition to, ATE or VTE.

It also should not be used if there is a presence or history of prodromi of a thrombosis, for example transient ischaemic attack or angina pectoris, a history of migraine with focal neurological symptoms or diabetes mellitus with vascular involvement.

While NuvaRing is delivered vaginally, the active ingredients are the same as combined hormonal oral contraceptives, and the risks of arterial and venous thromboembolism (ATE and VTE) are similar for all of these products, the TGA is advising.

“As with other hormonal contraception use, an increase in frequency or severity of migraine (which may be prodromal of a cerebrovascular event) may be a reason to consider immediate discontinuation of NuvaRing use,” it advises.

Cream no longer available

LEO Pharma, in consultation with the PBAC will remove Daivonex cream (calcipotriol 50μg/g), for the topical treatment of chronic stable plaque type psoriasis vulgaris in adults, from the PBS on 1st June 2015.

The decision will allow LEO Pharma to continue its commitment to the research and development of new and effective psoriasis treatments.

Explaining the decision, LEO Pharma general manager Jacob Anker Rasmussen said, “The availability of newer products has caused continual decline in the use of Daivonex cream.”

Prescribers or healthcare professionals with any questions are encouraged to speak to their LEO Pharma representative or contact their patient support service on 1800 094 104 or email

Daivonex cream will continue to be available to those patients who wish to continue treatment on a private prescription at an expected price in the order of $45.


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