The latest issue of Australia's free, national, independent journal of drugs and therapeutics, Australian Prescriber, is now available. Some of the highlights of the April issue include:
Prescribing for people with acute rheumatic fever
Acute rheumatic fever and rheumatic heart disease are rare in affluent societies yet high rates persist among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander populations, especially those living in rural or remote settings. Repeated or severe acute rheumatic fever episodes lead to rheumatic heart disease, a form of valvular heart disease, with high morbidity and mortality.
Dr Anna Ralph, senior clinical research fellow from Menzies School of Health Research, Charles Darwin University, and colleagues from RHDAustralia, examine this important problem. They outline recent changes in Australian recommendations for antibiotic use, aspirin dose and prevention of endocarditis.
Managing hepatitis C in general practice
With the explosion of newly approved drugs for hepatitis C, Australia has the potential to eradicate this disease in the next 10–15 years. Associate Professor Simone Strasser, gastroenterologist at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in Sydney, says new cases of hepatitis will become rare and rates of hepatitis C-related advanced liver disease, liver failure, liver cancer and liver transplantation will decrease. “It is essential that all medical practitioners, particularly GPs, have the skills to diagnose patients with hepatitis C and either manage them with specialist support if needed, or refer them for specialist care.”
Managing the drug treatment of rheumatoid arthritis
The cause of rheumatoid arthritis might still be unknown, but an understanding of its pathological processes has advanced greatly in the last 20 years. Dr Tom Wilsdon, clinical pharmacology registrar at Flinders Medical Centre, and Professor Catherine Hill from the School of Medicine, University of Adelaide write that new drugs have markedly changed the way the disease is managed and as a result have improved outcomes for patients.