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Medicines update

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Medicines update

Eye treatment shortage resolved

An alternative ophthalmic (eye) treatment is now available to address shortages resulting from the recall of Zovirax late last year.

AciVision 30 mg/g Aciclovir ointment has been granted TGA authorisation to be supplied temporarily in lieu of Zovirax Opthalmic ointment (3% aciclovir) for the treatment of keratitis of the eye caused by herpes simplex virus.

Alternative products had previously only been available in Australia through the Special Access Scheme (SAS).

There is no need to use the SAS to supply AciVision 30 mg/g Aciclovir ointment now the new arrangements are in place, the TGA advises.

Consumers can take their prescription for aciclovir ophthalmic ointment to their pharmacy as normal.

GSK undertook the recall in October 2014 after metal particles were found in three different lots of the active pharmaceutical ingredient, acyclovir.

Two of the 11 affected batches of Zovirax Ophthalmic ointment were distributed in Australia.

Warning on MDI look-alike smoking devices

The TGA is advising consumers to be aware of smoking devices which, either by design or mistake, closely resemble respiratory Metered Dose Inhalers (MDI).

The warning relates to the Puffit and Puffit-X devices, which the TGA says are of a “very similar shape, construction and colour as some approved MDI medicines”.

Due to the shape of the canister insert and the absence of any label on the insert, the TGA fears patients may confuse the devices for their MDI medicines. The agency is particularly concerned for younger or elderly patients in times of respiratory distress.

Unlike electronic cigarettes, which often heat a liquid cartridge providing an aerosol of particles to be inhaled, the Puffit and Puffit-X smoking devices are intended to burn vegetable material such as herbs or tobacco, the smoke of which is inhaled.

Get ready for antiretroviral dispensing

A new workshop will help community pharmacists prepare for dispensing HIV antiretrovirals later this year.

The workshop, held by the Society of Hospital Pharmacists of Australia, is designed to help pharmacists prepare for the July 2015 deadline for community pharmacies to begin dispensing HIV antiretrovirals.

The Introduction to HIV workshop is designed to “help community pharmacists support new and existing customers who have HIV: from the social, personal and emotional aspects of HIV to managing HIV medicines, interactions, adverse events, adherence and counselling,” the SHPA says.

The workshop will be held in Melbourne on 9 May, Brisbane on 23 May and Sydney on 30 May 2015.

Early-bird rates start at $297 for SHPA members and $352 for non-members.

To download a registration form, click here.


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