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Medicines update

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Medicines update

Antibiotic may provide COPD help

A low-dose antibiotic could help treat corticosteroid-resistant COPD, Australian research suggests.

Azithromycin effectively reduced epithelial cell damage in COPD patients by blocking the production of a T-cell toxin that glucocorticosteroids were powerless to suppress, according to the small study involving 11 patients.

A 250mg oral dose of azithromycin for five days, then twice-weekly for three months, markedly reduced the production of the T-cell toxin granzyme B in airways of COPD patients, researchers at the Royal Adelaide Hospital's Lung Research Laboratory found.

"Azithromycin was significantly effective at reducing gransyme B production ... providing further evidence for the application of azithromycin for controlling the epithelial cell apoptosis, abnormal airway, repair and chronic inflammation in COPD," the authors wrote in Respirology.

As a result, the antibiotic allowed for better control of epithelial cell damage, death and repair, they said.

Botox PBS list extension

On 1 November 2014, the listing of Botox on the PBS via the Section 100 Botulinum Toxin Programme will be extended to include the treatment of urinary incontinence due to idiopathic Overactive Bladder (iOAB) in a patient who meets certain criteria.

The PBS Botulinum Toxin Programme operates as a special arrangement under the National Health Act 1953.

There are a number of restrictions on the listing:  

  •  the condition must be due to iOAB; and
  •  the condition must have been inadequately controlled by therapy involving at least two
  • alternative anti-cholinergic agents (two entities, not two brands); and
  •  the patient must experience at least 14 episodes of urinary incontinence per week prior to commencement of treatment with Botox®; and
  •  the patient must be aged 18 years or older, and
  •  the patient must be willing and able to self-catheterise; and
  •  treatment must not continue if the patient does not achieve a 50% or greater reduction from baseline in urinary incontinence episodes 6-12 weeks after the first treatment.

Asthma combo packs

For those suffering intermittent or persistent asthma, effectively administering medication can be challenging, especially when the sufferer is a child or infant.

To assist with efficient drug delivery, OAPL has launched a new range of Spacer + Mask Combo Packs featuring Cross Valve Technology.

These spacers are specially designed to provide safe and effective administering of medication through very low resistance, one way flow during inhalation.

Metered-Dose Inhalers (MDIs) are commonly used to treat asthma but can spray medication up to 96 kilometers per hour, causing medication to be deposited at the back of the users’ throat or the roof of their mouth.

As a consequence the amount of medication reaching the lungs is significantly reduced.


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