NPS Direct – February 2013

Published in NPS Direct

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Genetic testing and personalised medicine

Genetic testing and personalised medicine

Advances in personalised medicine and direct-to-consumer marketing of tests have moved genetic testing into the medical mainstream. GPs are increasingly called upon to manage issues in what was once the domain of clinical geneticists and other specialists. Are you ready? 

Safety update on allopurinol hypersensitivity

Safety update on allopurinol hypersensitivity

Allopurinol hypersensitivity (AH) may present differently among patients; thus identifying a causative mechanism is difficult. There has been a sustained effort to find markers which may predict susceptibility to AH with the aim to prevent serious and occasionally fatal reactions. 


Zolpidem may cause next-morning alertness impairment

Zolpidem may cause next-morning alertness impairment

The FDA is calling for a 50% reduction in bedtime doses of the insomnia drug zolpidem in women, and asking prescribers to consider lower doses for men. New data show that next-morning blood levels of zolpidem may remain high enough to impair alertness. 

This Valentine's Day ...

Love your heart

1. Good anticoagulant practice

This February, NPS launched a therapeutic program focusing on the quality use of anticoagulants in people with atrial fibrillation and venous thromboembolism. Book an educational visit with an experienced facilitator to discuss your patient cases and find out more.

2. Medicinewise News: oral anticoagulants

Most people with non-valvular AF, including those at high risk of bleeding, need oral anticoagulation to reduce their risk of stroke. Aspirin is not recommended for people at increased risk for stroke unless oral anticoagulation is contraindicated.

3. Remember those at increased risk

Having type 2 diabetes more than doubles the risk of dying from cardiovascular causes. Monitor people with diabetes closely for risk factors, including lifestyle risk factors and manage according to cardiovascular risk.

4. Calcium may be harmful

Calcium and vitamin D supplements are commonly recommended for the treatment of osteoporosis and for people taking bisphosphates. These strategies need to be reconsidered as evidence suggests marginal effectiveness and increased cardiovascular risk.

5. Decision tool for starting anticoagulants

NPS MedicineWise has developed a decision tool to assist health professionals to make decisions about starting treatment with anticoagulants to clarify when warfarin and new oral anticoagulants should be considered.

February is heart research month

February 2013 is RedFeb, a fundraising and awareness campaign run by Heart Research Australia. Heart Research Australia encourages all Australians to be proactive during RedFeb and support the fight against Australia's number one killer disease, heart disease.

Increased risk of thromboembolism in newer oral contraceptives

New data show that some combined oral contraceptives containing newer progestins have a higher risk of venous thromboembolism than older drugs. These new generation contraceptives are being reviewed by the TGA for safety.

HPV vaccine available for boys

The quadrivalent human papillomavirus vaccine (Gardasil) is available to boys aged 12-13 years via the school-based immunisation program starting this month. Boys in Year 9 at school will also be immunised in a catch-up program that will run for a further 2 years under the National Immunisation Program.

Earn CPD points with NPS MedicineWise online activities

Latest topic: type 2 diabetes

  • GPs — register for the Clinical e-Audits and earn 40 RACGP QI&CPD (Category 1) points or 30 ACRRM PRPD points. Latest topic: Type 2 Diabetes - Priorities and Targets
  • Pharmacists – register for Pharmacy Practice Reviews and earn 8 hours of Group 2 CPD (or 16 CPD credits). Latest topic: Type 2 Diabetes - Enhancing patient care.

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