NPS Direct – January 2013

Published in NPS Direct

Date published: About this date

Varenicline (Champix): clearing the air on CV safety

Varenicline (Champix): clearing the air on CV safety

A recent meta-analysis demonstrated a small, statistically non-significant, increase in cardiovascular events in people taking varenicline. Health professionals are advised to weigh up the small risk of cardiovascular adverse events against the cardiovascular benefits of quitting smoking when considering varenicline. 

Reducing ionising radiation exposure with MRI

Reducing ionising radiation exposure with MRI

MRI has the advantage of not using ionising radiation, which is a concern around the use of X-ray and computed tomography. However, most of the MBS items for MRI imaging requested by GPs require X-ray as a first investigation prior to reimbursement, so where is the benefit? 


Delay in PBS listing of dabigatran

Delay in PBS listing of dabigatran

An announcement by the Australian Minister for Health indicated that the decision recommending PBS listing of dabigatran should be reviewed. It recommended that more work is needed before new oral anticoagulants could be listed for stroke prevention in atrial fibrillation. 

2012 Key initiatives

Quality use of medicine

1. The 2012 National Medicines Symposium

Attended by over 500 delegates, this symposium featured a variety of high-profile national and international speakers who discussed quality use of medicines and the challenges around building a medicinewise community in Australia.

2. Evidence-based education

Evidence-based interventions, including one-to-one educational visits with GPs and group training with pharmacists, nurses and other health professionals, were launched in three new therapeutic areas in 2012; antipsychotics, diabetes and antibiotics.

3. Quality use of medical tests

Medical tests and medicines use are closely linked in many areas of clinical practice, thus NPS MedicineWise education programs have been expanded to include synergistic learning about the quality use of medical tests.

4. Antibiotic awareness week

NPS MedicineWise played a leading role in the global Antibiotic Awareness Week in November and was at the forefront of the fight against antibiotic resistance throughout the year with a national campaign.

5. Phone line services for consumers

Providing timely, independent, accurate and evidence-based medicines information to consumers, Medicines Line (1300 MEDICINE) and the Adverse Medicines Events Line (1300 134 237) are available to consumers who have questions or concerns about medicines.

What to expect from NPS MedicineWise in the coming year

The first therapeutic topic for 2013 will be launched in February and it will discuss good anticoagulant practice and the management of atrial fibrillation and venous thromboembolism in general practice. To find out more, book an educational visit with an NPS facilitator.

Medication recall: Ventolin and Asmol (salbutamol) metered dose inhalers

A fault in the delivery mechanism of certain batches may result in less than the full dose of medicine being delivered for each puff. Find out the essential information to help ensure patient safety.

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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