NPS Direct – March 2014

Published in NPS Direct

Date published: About this date


Testosterone therapy linked with serious adverse events

Two recent studies have linked testosterone therapy with increased risk of cardiovascular disease prompting an investigation by the US FDA. What is the evidence and what is best-practice prescribing?

Glucosamine and chondroitin

Glucosamine and chondroitin: timing is the key

Scientific opinion on glucosamine and chondroitin for osteoarthritis has been undecided, but recent data have renewed hopes of a disease-modifying effect. Could it be all about getting in early? Read more, including a Q&A with Professor Ric Day.


Magnesium: a treatment for leg cramps?

Leg cramp is a common problem, especially in pregnancy and in older people. Quinine is no longer approved for leg cramp and there are limited other treatment options available. Magnesium is commonly recommended due to its favourable side-effect profile. Does the evidence support its use?


ehind the headlines: pain killers, back pain and health checks

Behind the headlines: pain killers, back pain and health checks

Behind the headlines takes a closer look at stories reported in the media, going behind the narrative and examining the evidence. In this edition we ask:


Fast five — Mental health


Youth suicide — are you doing enough?

Health professionals are well placed to identify adolescents at risk of suicide, including those with a history of mental health disorders, significant physical illness, or problems with alcohol or drug abuse, and to implement effective suicide prevention strategies.


Good grief — when is depression a disorder?

Depression is an important and common condition that has serious negative consequences on the health and welfare of the sufferer and their families. It is important to recognise early, diagnose accurately and treat using the best evidence.


Is it safe to use SSRIs during pregnancy?

Untreated depression is linked to adverse outcomes in pregnancy, and management of major depressive disorders in pregnant women is important for the health and welfare of the mother and infant. SSRIs are the most frequently used antidepressants during pregnancy but their use has been controversial because of possible adverse outcomes.


PTSD: what's your crisis response?

Primary care health professionals are often the first to address the health needs of people affected by disaster, and they have an important role in managing their psychological as well as physical traumas.


Antipsychotic overuse in dementia: is there a problem?

Antipsychotics have a long history of being used to reduce the impact of dementia on patients and carers, but the evidence for their efficacy is modest and they are associated with serious side effects. There is also growing concern that antipsychotics are being used inappropriately to sedate patients as a means of behaviour control.


Treating with oral anticoagulants: updated evidence summaries

All oral anticoagulants require careful patient selection and routine clinical monitoring, to minimise the risk of thrombosis and bleeding. Our updated evidence summaries cover the use of oral anticoagulants for treatment/prevention of venous thromboembolism and for stroke prevention in people with non-valvular atrial fibrillation.


Image of smartphone showing new MedicineList+ app

MedicineList+ app helps patients easily manage medicines and more

MedicineList+ is a free app for both Android and iOS devices. It is designed to help your patients or their carers know about and manage their medicines and other health information.*

Patients simply barcode scan their medicines using their smartphone to automatically create an up-to-date medicines record that they can keep handy at all times and share with you when needed.

They can also note allergies and measurements, e.g. weight and height, record and graph test results, e.g. blood pressure and INR, find out about medicine brand names and active ingredients, and access consumer medicine information from NPS MedicineWise.

*All patient information stored locally on the app and not shared with NPS MedicineWise or publicly.


Online case studies

New interactive format

  • Receive instant feedback and compare your approach with that of your peers.
  • Read expert commentary and evidence-based best practice information.
  • CPD activity for GPs, nurses and pharmacists.
  • Available on computer or tablet — switch between devices seamlessly.

 NEW oral anticoagulants case study

Gain clarity and context about safer use of anticoagulant treatment options for a 76-year-old woman with non-valvular atrial fibrillation in this interactive case study.

Type 2 diabetes case study

Work through an online clinical scenario on the treatment options for 75-year-old Albert who has type 2 diabetes. 86% of health professionals who have completed the case study rated it as good to excellent.


National Medicines Symposium 2014 

Tell us what you think

Tell us what you think

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Image credits:
Testosterone: timquo/
Osteoarthritis: Image Point Fr/
Leg cramps: mirana/
Behind the news: Aleksandr Bryliaev/