Managing HIV in general practice, snoring treatments, and finding independent information on new drugs — in June edition of Australian Prescriber

1 JUNE 2011

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

Managing HIV in general practice

With advances in care and treatment significantly increasing the life expectancy for many people with HIV, patients now receive much of their care from general practitioners. Adelaide GP Dr Tom Turnbull writes that many of the complex issues facing these patients would be familiar to general practitioners looking after patients with any chronic illness. He outlines how these problems can be managed in general practice including sexual, mental health and medication-related issues.

Treatments for snoring in adults

Snoring is a symptom and a sign of airway obstruction and in serious cases can significantly increase the risk of cardiovascular events. According to Wollongong ENT head and neck surgeon Dr Stuart MacKay, to treat the heterogeneous condition requires a multidisciplinary approach. Dr MacKay says while continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) remains the gold standard treatment for snoring and sleep apnoea, mandibular advancement splints or surgery are also viable treatment options. Lifestyle modifications including alcohol use and sleeping position can also improve patient outcomes.

Testing for HFE-related haemochromatosis

HFE-haemochromatosis is a common genetic disorder primarily affecting people of Northern European descent. Early diagnosis and treatment is crucial to preventing progressive disease so it is important that people with the condition are identified and managed appropriately. Dr Andrew St John, Dr Katherine Stuart and Dr Darrell Crawford from the University of Queensland and Department of Gastroenterology, Greenslopes Private Hospital, write that an elevated serum ferritin concentration greater than 300 microgram/L and a transferrin saturation of greater than 45% will identify almost all patients with this disorder.

Finding independent information on new drugs

When a new drug becomes available, prescribers may wish to have independent information to form their own opinion about its place in therapy. Sydney drug information specialist Rosalind Tindale says it’s important to know where valuable information is most likely to be found, citing sources online and those available through health department clinical information sites and libraries.

Medicines Safety Update

  • Risk of hypomagnesaemia with proton pump inhibitors
  • Use of 2011 seasonal influenza vaccines in children
  • Investigation of Prevenar and deaths of children in Japan: what does it mean for Australia?
  • Medicine recalls in Australia

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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