Latest edition of Australian Prescriber out now

2 APRIL 2012

The April edition of Australian Prescriber is out now and looks at the following topical issues:

Freedom of expression under threat: complaints about medicines

There needs to be protection for people who make genuine complaints about medicines, writes Dr John Dowden, Editor-in-Chief of Australian Prescriber, in the publication’s April edition. The editorial cites the recent case of Dr Ken Harvey being sued for questioning the efficacy of a complementary medicine, and explores whether freedom of expression may be under threat in Australia from companies using legal action, or the threat of it, to try to silence their critics.

High blood pressure and cholesterol in Australian children

Cardiovascular risk factors such as high blood pressure and cholesterol levels are on the increase in Australian children, particularly those who are overweight or obese, write Dr Julian Ayer, Children’s Hospital at Westmead, and Associate Professor Gary Sholler, University of Sydney. These risk factors are often overlooked in children, but they play an important role in adult cardiovascular health. Improving diet and increasing exercise within the whole family are central to the non-drug treatment of hypertension. The authors give drug treatment options for children with secondary hypertension or children with end organ damage who have not responded to lifestyle measures. The article also looks at recommendations on when to treat children with statins.

Hypertensive disorders in pregnancy

Hypertensive disorders in pregnancy are common, according to Dr Peter Donovan of Princess Alexandra Hospital, Brisbane, and range from chronic and gestational hypertension to eclampsia. These disorders are associated with an increased risk in pregnancy. Dr Donovan warns that there are limited data about the safety of many hypertensive drugs in pregnancy, so certain medicines such as ACE inhibitors and angiotensin receptor blockers should be avoided. The article also looks at the various manifestations of hypertensive disorders in pregnancy, the suggested approach to care, and postpartum management and secondary prevention. The increased cardiovascular risk for women who have had any hypertensive disorder in pregnancy also means that long-term follow-up is needed, writes Dr Donovan.

Safe use of adrenaline autoinjectors

Adrenaline autoinjectors enable non-medical people – including patients – to treat anaphylaxis, but as there are two different brands of the device in Australia, patients and carers need to be trained in their use. Sandra Vale, Jill Smith and Clinical associate professor Richard Loh, of the Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy (ASCIA), outline how to use the two different devices. The authors emphasise the importance of trainer devices for patients and carers, and summarise prescribing and dosing guidelines for adrenaline autoinjectors. They also look at common adverse effects and important precautions, as well as the importance of patient action plans.

Other articles in this edition of Australian Prescriber include

  • Rational prescribing for ongoing management of asthma in adults
  • Home sleep studies for investigating sleep apnoea

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 by NPS, an independent, not-for-profit organisation for quality use of medicines funded by the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing. Australian Prescriber is published every two months, in hard copy that is distributed to health professionals free of charge, and online in full text at