Latest Australian Prescriber edition out now; asthma drugs in pregnancy assessment and management of eating disorders, and more

1 October 2013

Latest edition of Australian Prescriber out now

Asthma drugs in pregnancy and lactation

Uncontrolled asthma during pregnancy poses short and long-term risks to the mother and her baby. Angelina Lim, Dr Safeera Hussainy and Professor Michael Abramson from Monash University explain that while pregnant women may have some concerns about asthma medication during pregnancy, optimal asthma control should always be the first priority, and that guidelines recommend women should continue the same therapy they used before pregnancy.

The article examines the evidence behind commonly used asthma medicines in pregnancy, and provides an explanation of the Australian categorisation of risk for these drugs in pregnancy.

Assessment and management of eating disorders

Professor Phillipa Hay from the University of Western Sydney writes that early identification of eating disorders –particularly anorexia nervosa in children and adolescents, and bulimia nervosa and binge eating – is associated with good outcomes. Optimal management involves coordinated care between primary and specialist care.

The author outlines and provides an update on some of the evidence-based treatments which include family-based therapy for young people with anorexia nervosa, and a specific form of cognitive behavioural therapy with or without a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor in bulimia nervosa and binge eating disorder.

Prescribing for refugees

Problems that may arise when prescribing for people of refugee background can be minimised by taking time to undertake education and careful explanation, write Dr Mitchell Smith, Director of the NSW Refugee Health Service, Dr Winston Lo, medical educator at GP Synergy, and Jessica Bindra from the University of NSW.

The authors write that religious and cultural beliefs, limited health literacy and use of traditional medicines can all affect health care for refugees. In addition, psychological conditions are very common, and the doctor may encounter unfamiliar conditions. Recently arrived refugees should have a thorough health check. There are Medicare items for assessing the health of refugees.

Clear communication by the health professional is vital. They need to confirm the patient’s understanding of the information they provide, and use a professional interpreter when necessary. The Translating and Interpreting Service (1300 131 450) provides free phone interpreters for doctors in private practice, and for community pharmacists.

Other articles in this edition of Australian Prescriber include

Principles for managing attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)

Rational use of topical corticosteroids

Making sense of equivalence, non-inferiority and active control trials

To read the full articles and more, visit


Australian Prescriber is an independent peer-reviewed journal providing critical commentary on therapeutic topics for health professionals, particularly doctors in general practice. It is published every two months and distributed to health professionals free of charge, and is also available online at 

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