Home' Australian Pharmacist : May 2011 Contents Vol.30–May#05
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Letters to the Editor
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The article on BPH in Australian
Pharmacist April 2011, page 296,
dismissed the wonderful herb saw
palmetto as almost irrelevant in its
usefulness in this troublesome and
uncomfortable condition. This plant
has been used for hundreds of years in
traditional medicine, particularly for male
genitourinary conditions such as libido,
impotence and problems of micturition.
Clinical studies have confirmed its
use in the treatment of BPH (Abe M,
Ito Y, Oyunzul L, et al. Biol Pharm Bull.
2009; 32(4):999–1005). Even though
the exact mechanism of action of saw
palmetto is not known (remind you
of other drugs perhaps?), the fatty
acid-rich extract is a weak inhibitor of
5-alpha-reductase and acts an as anti-
inflammatory on the prostate.
For most men suffering from an
enlarged prostate, the aim of treatment
should be to improve lower urinary tract
symptoms and quality of life. Clinical
progression of BPH is indicated by
worsening of symptoms, rather than
the development of life-threatening
complications. A conservative approach
to management of BPH presents few
A trial (Carraro J, Raynaud J, Koch
G. Comparison of Phytotherapy
(Permixon) with Finasteride in the
Treatment of BPH: A Randomized
International Study of 1,098 patients.
Prostate 1996;29:231–40 ) comparing
the efficacy of finasteride against saw
palmetto showed that both treatments
decreased symptoms of BPH equally.
However, saw palmetto gave rise to
fewer adverse effects and had no effect
on serum PSA levels. Significantly
more men in the finasteride group
withdrew from the study. Additionally,
your readers should be aware that
finasteride is currently under review for
a new range of adverse effects.
Pharmacist and herbalist
PSA and PSNZ sign
PSA and the Pharmaceutical
Society of New Zealand (PSNZ) will
work together to strengthen the
professional role of pharmacists in
The two organisations signed a
strategic alliance in late March
aimed at building the capacity of the
profession and driving a greater role
for pharmacists in the healthcare
systems of both countries.
The alliance specifically aims to
strengthen the professional role
of pharmacists as recognised
pivotal members of the primary
healthcare team and in improving
patient outcomes in Australia and
PSA National President Warwick
Plunkett said the alliance brought
together the professions of both
countries at a high level and enabled
a formal exchange of information,
experiences and ideas.
‘W ith this alliance we are able to
strengthen the communication,
collaboration and cooperation
between the PSA and PSNZ in policy
development, education and training,
political advocacy and commercial
arrangements where there is mutual
benefit. There are clearly many
areas where the professions of both
countries share common ground
and this new relationship will boost
our ability to further the interests of
PSNZ President Elizabeth Plant
welcomed the alliance and said it
enabled both societies to identify
potential products and services
that may be of benefit to either or
‘This alliance will initially focus on
four key areas – policy, workforce
planning, events, including PAC, and
products. It is a great step forward
for the pharmacy profession in both
countries and one which will flow on
and result in better health outcomes
for consumers in both Australia and
PSA CEO Liesel Wett said it was
interesting to see how many issues
and challenges the two organisations
have in common.
‘I am excited by the alliance and
how it will help us and New Zealand
pharmacists strengthen our case
for better recognition as essential
primary healthcare team members.
Sharing common ground and the
lessons of mutual experience will,
I am sure, be of great long-term
benefit to pharmacists on both sides
of the “ditch”’.
A good first step
of the Government’s
Packages for people
with severe mental
illnesses is a
welcome first step in
improving care in this
area of unmet need, PSA has said.
Flexible Care Packages are designed
to help provide clinical and case
coordination services to support
people with severe mental illness in
the community and help them stay
out of hospital. They will be delivered
through Medicare Locals, which PSA
strongly supports, and which will
provide a more collaborative model of
care with the inclusion of pharmacists.
Pharmacy Support Program
Business solutions to enhance professional pharmacy services
Would you like to incorporate professional pharmacy
services into your current business model?
Is there a professional pharmacy service you would like
to implement but you don’t know where to start?
Need assistance in advertising and promoting your
professional pharmacy services?
Need assistance with staff management and training?
Need assistance with accessing resources for
professional pharmacy services?
PSA’s Pharmacy Support
Program can help!
We will provide you with your own personal
in‐pharmacy consultant, business tools and a
professional services resource kit. You will receive
practical advice and assistance to suit your pharmacy’s
individual needs and unique circumstances.
For more information, or to register for the Pharmacy
Support Program, please visit www.psa.org.au/psp
or contact the Practice Support unit on 02 9431 1114.
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