NPS RADAR

NPS RADAR provides health professionals with timely, independent evidence-based information on new drugs and medical tests and changes to listings on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.

NPS RADAR is print-published 3 times a year, in line with major updates to the Schedule of Pharmaceutical Benefits, so it is available around the time when new medicines can be prescribed or dispensed.

Our free NPS RADAR email alerts keep subscribers up to date with new drugs and medical tests as each new issue of NPS RADAR is released.

Latest issue

Editorial – Making sense of COPD medicines

The array of inhaled medicines available on the PBS for treating and managing airways disease is increasing, for both asthma and COPD. Along with a new combination product for asthma, this issue of NPS RADAR reviews two more inhaled medicines for COPD now listed on the PBS — umeclidinium (Incruse Ellipta) a long-acting anticholinergic, and a new combination product (Ultibro Breezhaler) delivering a fixed-dose combination (FDC) of indacaterol, a long-acting beta-2 receptor agonist, with glycopyrronium, a long-acting anticholinergic.

Indacaterol with glycopyrronium (Ultibro Breezhaler) for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

Indacaterol 110 micrograms / glycopyrronium 50 micrograms (Ultibro Breezhaler 110/50) is a fixed-dose combination for providing maintenance bronchodilation for 24 hours after a once-daily dose in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. The long-acting beta-2 agonist / long-acting muscarinic antagonist combination bronchodilator provides a single-inhaler alternative to a LABA and LAMA in two separate inhaler devices.

Fluticasone furoate with vilanterol (Breo Ellipta) for asthma

Fluticasone furoate 100 or 200 micrograms with vilanterol 25 micrograms is a fixed-dose combination preventer containing a combination of the medium- or high-dose inhaled corticosteroid fluticasone and the long-acting beta-2 agonist vilanterol for asthma control in people aged ≥ 12 years. These two components are not currently available individually for treating asthma.

Brief item: Umeclidinium (Incruse Ellipta) for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

Umeclidinium bromide is a long-acting anticholinergic (or long-acting muscarinic-receptor antagonist [LAMA]) now PBS listed for maintenance treatment of COPD in adults. This is a Restricted Benefit listing for people with COPD — the same restriction as for the other three LAMAs currently listed on the PBS.

Brief item: Pharmacological therapies for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in Australia

Rapid change in options for treating and managing COPD, including increasing availability of FDC products, and the bewildering list of brand names for active ingredients and their corresponding proprietary devices, has potential to create confusion. To help prescribers keep pace with these changes, this article provides a summary of current PBS-listed single-agent and FDC products for use in COPD, including two new products listed on the PBS — umeclidinium (Incruse Ellipta) a long-acting anticholinergic, and a new combination product (Ultibro Breezhaler) delivering a fixed-dose combination (FDC) of indacaterol, a long-acting beta-2 receptor agonist, with glycopyrronium, a long-acting anticholinergic.

Brief item: Varenicline (Champix) for smoking cessation – changed note to restriction

From 1 October 2014 the note to the PBS listing for varenicline tartrate has changed to permit another course of varenicline (instead of buproprion) in patients who did not stop smoking after an initial 12- or 24-week treatment course, provided that 6 months have elapsed between starting the previous course of varenicline and the subsequent course.

Brief item: Black-box warning for strontium ranelate (Protos) added to Product Information

In April 2014 the Product Information for strontium ranelate (Protos) was updated with a black-box warning. Data on the risk of adverse cardiovascular events has now also been amended within the Product Information.