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. RADAR reviews are usually selected to focus on medicines prescribed by primary care health professionals.
However, many patients presenting in the primary care setting may be undergoing concurrent treatment under the care of specialists and may be prescribed medicines not available to primary care prescribers. If the treatment is for common conditions, patients may well expect their GP to be able to discuss with them the advisability of the treatment and its expected benefits and harms.
They will also expect their GP to be aware of interactions or complications to look out for when considering managing and treating conditions unrelated to their specialist treatment. Indeed in some cases monitoring of the ongoing response to specialist treatment may fall to the GP, who will often see these patients more frequently than their treating specialist.
In this issue of RADAR we review two commonly prescribed ocular medicines, aflibercept (Eylea) and ranibizumab (Lucentis), used in the treatment of age-related macular degeneration.
This review is of particular relevance to GP practice because, as the name of the condition indicates, it is one that is more common in older people who, because of their age, are more likely to have increased risk of comorbidities and to be taking multiple medicines.
While this RADAR article reviews the evidence surrounding benefits, harms and place in therapy, we emphasise factors of relevance for primary care health professionals such as the risks of ocular and nonocular adverse events and how to monitor patients accordingly.
And, as always, remember that for people taking multiple medicines the NPS MedicineWise Medicine List or MedicineWise App are essential tools for them to keep track of their medicines and ensure they are taking them correctly.
Read more about the MedicineWise App smartphone app at www.nps.org.au/medicinelist-app, or download a paper version from www.nps.org.au/medicines-list-paper, or show patients how to create a Medicine eList at www.nps.org.au/medicines-elist.
As we continue to work towards the best quality product for RADAR readers, we welcome your feedback by leaving comments at www.nps.org.au/contact-us/give-feedback