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New prescription for road
A campaign aimed at providing drivers and riders with information about
pharmacy medications and how they affect driving was launched last
month at Demarte's Amcal Pharmacy.
The Victorian Assistant Treasurer
Gordon Rich-Phillips, the Transport
Accident Commission (TAC) and the
Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA)
joined forces to launch the campaign
which includes a new Medicines and
driving Self Care Fact Card. The card
provides a range of information and
safety advice about pharmacy and over-
the-counter medications and how they
may impair driving ability and judgment.
Mr Rich-Phillips said that while alcohol
and illicit drugs were the most common
substances associated with fatalities
and injuries among drivers and riders,
prescription drugs were increasingly
associated with serious road trauma.
'The combination of some medications,
the dosage or the introduction of new
medications can impact our driving
capabilities. Most prescription and
over-the-counter medications don't
significantly increase the risk of a crash
if they are taken as prescribed, however
if they are abused or taken with alcohol,
they can affect the ability to drive
safely and increase the risk of a crash,'
Mr Rich-Phillips said.
'Awareness that some medications can
affect driving will reduce their potential
impact on road safety and help people
better understand the risks and how to
manage their driving.'
Research with older drivers has shown
that some prescription medications,
such as benzodiazepines can increase
the risk of a crash by 5%.
Mr Rich-Phillips said: 'Some medicines
can cause drowsiness, poor
concentration and problems with
eyesight and hearing, so it's important to
understand the side effects and ask your
doctor or pharmacist if it's safe to drive.'
PSA Victorian Branch President Michelle
Lynch said community pharmacies were
increasingly being utilised as a hub for
preventive health activities.
'We are delighted to be involved with
the TAC to launch the medicines and
'The International Pharmaceutical
Federation reported that US$500 billion
could be saved every year if responsible
use of medicines was achieved and
pharmacists have been identified as a
strong and under-utilised asset to achieve
responsible use of medicines.'
'I encourage everyone to check with their
pharmacists if their medicines may affect
their driving,' she said.
Measuring Alzheimer's risk
Australian researchers are undertaking a
study to help people of all ages evaluate
if they are accurate in their perception of
their risk of Alzheimer's disease.
Alzheimer's disease is the most common
form of dementia. One in four Australians
over 85 suffer from dementia and about
1,700 new Alzheimer's cases are recorded
each week in Australia.
'The more aware we are of the risk factors
for Alzheimer's disease early in life the
greater hope we have of modifying risk and
ultimately preventing the disease in later
life,' said lead researcher Dr Joanna Brooks,
Research Fellow at the ANU Centre for
Research on Ageing, Health and Wellbeing.
The study will explore people's perception
of, and exposure to, factors known to
be associated with an increased risk of
Alzheimer's disease, such as smoking,
depression, pesticide exposure and low
Current interventions for lowering
Alzheimer's disease risk are targeted at
people over the age of 60. But evidence
suggests that risk factors may occur in
adults as young as 20, pointing to the need
to consider prevention in early adulthood.
'Our study will help identify gaps in
people's information, knowledge or
understanding of risk factors and help
people modify that risk,' Dr Brooks said.
'We hope our study will help inform
the development of future preventive
strategies and interventions.'
The study is looking for people over the
age of 18 worldwide to complete the
new Alzheimer's disease risk perception
ˆ Gordon Rich-Phillips, Bill Suen and Michelle Lynch
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