Home' Australian Pharmacist : Australian Pharmacist January 2013 Contents 14 Australian Pharmacist January 2013 I ©Pharmaceutical Society of Australia Ltd.
A new eye health resource seeks to assist
health professionals in helping patients
understand the link between smoking
and eye disease. Eye health and vision
care body, Vision 2020 and Quit Victoria
produced the Vision Initiative Smoking
and Vision Loss information sheet
which encourages discussions between
smokers and health professionals
about the effects smoking has on eyes
and vision. Vision 2020 Australia CEO
Jennifer Gersbeck said while most
people know that smoking is not good
for their health, many are surprised to
learn that smokers are at an increased
risk of vision loss. The information sheet
is available at www.visioninitiative.org.au
MS research online
The Making Sense of MS
Research website (www.
a health information tool for people with
MS, their family members and carers was
launched last month. It uses summaries
of Cochrane Reviews to create a place
that people affected with MS can go to
seek unbiased, first-class information
on medications and treatments.
MS Australia Acting Chief Executive
Officer Trevor Farrell said: 'This website is
a first of its kind for the MS community.
This kind of information is normally
only available to doctors, so to have
it accessible to people living with the
disease every day is a great step forward'.
New MS CEO
Debra Cerasa has been appointed
to the new role of Chief Executive
Officer of Multiple Sclerosis Australia
(MSA). The new role is about creating
a national voice for people living with
multiple sclerosis (MS) throughout the
country according to MSA President
Rob Hubbard. He said Debra Cerasa
brings a wealth of experience from
senior executive roles in the health
sector to MSA, most recently, the Royal
College of Nursing, Australia (RCNA).
NPS MedicineWise has published new
information about interactions between
grapefruit and medicines, including tips to
help people avoid any harmful effects.
A review published in the Canadian Medical
Association Journal in November highlights
that more than 85 medicines may interact
with grapefruit to cause side effects --
some which may be serious.
While it has been known for some time
that grapefruit can interact with medicines,
the review points to a rising number of
medicines that may interact with grapefruit
to potentially cause serious side effects --
up from 17 to 43 in recent years.
Dr Andrew Boyden, clinical adviser at
NPS MedicineWise said that interactions
could occur when medicines mix with
certain foods or drink -- and grapefruit is
'Grapefruit juice interacts with several
common medicines, making them work
too strongly or causing side effects. Being
medicine wise when it comes to grapefruit
interactions is particularly important
because of the large and varied list of
medicines that could interact.
"The list includes some commonly
prescribed medications including some
statins, some types of medicines for heart
conditions and high blood pressure as well
as medicines that people may be taking
only for a short period of time such as some
antimalarial medicines, antibiotics and
cough and cold medicines.'
An indicative list of the affected medicines
is available on the NPS website:
People taking these medicines are advised
not to eat grapefruit or drink grapefruit
juice at all, because even one glass of
juice can have an effect. Interactions can
occur even when the grapefruit or juice is
eaten or drunk at a different time to taking
Dr Boyden said that over-the-counter and
complementary medicines (such as herbs
and nutritional supplements) might also
interact with grapefruit juice, not just
GPs squeezing more in
GPs fit more into patient consultations
now than a decade ago but the average
length of the consultation has stayed the
same, research led by the University of
Lead author Associate Professor Helena
Britt from Sydney Medical School said:
'Our GPs are getting busier and busier.
She said, 'We are seeing GPs more often
than we were a decade ago, and the GPs are
also fitting more into their consultations.
For example patients are presenting with
more issues, GPs are managing more
problems, and doing more tests and
procedures -- yet the time spent in the
average consultation has stayed steady at
about 15 minutes.'
Two reports published in December General
practice activity in Australia 2011--12 and A
decade of Australian general practice 2002--03
to 2011--12, provide data on the activities of
GPs and the care of their patients. The data
comes from the Bettering the Evaluation
and Care of Health (BEACH) program which
continuously collects information about
clinical activities in general practice in
Australia. Associate Professor Britt is director
of the program.
'In 2011--12, 83% of Australia's 22.6 million
population saw a GP at least once, and
Medicare paid for an average 5.4 visits per
person (122.5 million in total),' she said.
The number of procedures done at GP
visits increased when Medicare started to
pay for some procedures done by practice
nurses, under the supervision of the GP.
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