Home' Australian Pharmacist : Australian Pharmacist February 2014 Contents Australian Pharmacist February 2014 I ©Pharmaceutical Society of Australia Ltd.
The first and only non anti-fungal
therapy for treating fungal nail
infection (onychomycosis) is now
approved for use in Australia. Available
over-the-counter in pharmacies,
the Excilor medical device is a new
non-pharmacological treatment proven
to increase the acidity of the nail bed,
stopping the spread of the fungus,
while maintaining overall nail health.
Accorsding to Vemedia, unlike other
topical treatments, the acidic Excilor
formulation effectively and evenly
penetrates the nail, lowering the pH
level and creating an environment
resistant to fungal growth and spread.
The acidic formula diffuses through the
nail in as little as 20 minutes and the
effects are visible almost immediately.
'This is a new approach to treating
fungal nail infection and is long overdue,'
said Sydney based Dermatologist,
Dr John Sullivan. 'Around 2.3 million
Australians suffer from fungal nail
infections, many of which are not
The company says that research has
shown that Excilor is highly effective
in treating fungal nail infection.
When applied twice a day for
42 consecutive days, results showed a
clinical improvement in nail appearance
in 81% of patients. The spread of
infection was stopped and the infected
nail was replaced by healthy growth.
The Excilor pen allows easy and hygienic
application to the affected nail. The fluid
includes a biodegradable and non-toxic
penetration enhancer in order to
improve diffusion into the nail.
Australia and New Zealand Breast
Cancer Trials Group
Taking the breast cancer drug
anastrozole for five years reduced the
chances of postmenopausal women at
high risk of breast cancer developing the
disease by 53% compared with women
who took a placebo, according to a study
published in The Lancet*.
The results of the international prevention
clinical trial called IBIS-II, could offer a
new option for preventing breast cancer
in moderate to high risk postmenopausal
women which is more effective than
tamoxifen and has fewer side-effects.
IBIS-II was conducted by the Australia and
New Zealand Breast Cancer Trials Group
(ANZBCTG) and 818 women from Australia
and New Zealand participated in the study
across 30 institutions.
IBIS-II involved almost 4,000
postmenopausal women worldwide at
high risk of breast cancer with half being
given 1 mg of anastrozole daily and half
given a placebo. In the five years of follow
up 40 women in the anastrozole group
developed breast cancer compared to 85
women in the placebo group.
Professor John Forbes AM, the
International Study Co-Chair of IBIS-II and
Director of Research for the ANZBCTG,
said: 'This research is a very important
development in breast cancer prevention.
We now know anastrozole should be
the drug of choice when it comes to
reducing the risk of breast cancer in
postmenopausal women with a family
history or other risk factors for the disease.
This class of drugs is more effective than
current drugs such as tamoxifen and
crucially, it has fewer side effects.'
'Unpleasant side effects such as acute
aches and pains have often been
associated with oestrogen depriving drugs.
However, in this study, the reported side
effects were only slightly higher than in the
placebo arm. This means most symptoms
were not drug related, and the concern
about side effects for this type of drug may
have been overstated in the past'.
The targeted cancer therapy Tarceva
(erlotinib), became available on the
Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme
(PBS) from 1 January, for the first-line
treatment of patients with locally
advanced (Stage IIIB) or metastatic
(Stage IV) non-small cell lung cancer
(NSCLC) with epidermal growth factor
receptor (EGFR) activating mutations.
In addition to Tarceva's PBS listing, the
biomarker test required to determine
a patient's EGFR mutation status has
been approved by the Medical Services
Advisory Committee (MSAC). While
Tarceva has been PBS listed for EGFR
mutation positive (EGFR M+) patients
at later stages of their treatment, it
has not previously been listed as a
first-line treatment. Tarceva inhibits
tumour growth by targeting the EGFR
pathway. EGFR is a key component of
the signalling pathway, which plays
a role in the formation and growth of
Tarceva binds to the intracellular
tyrosine kinase domain of EGFR and
inhibits the signalling pathway that
drives cell proliferation and survival.
Some tumours have activating
mutations of the EGFR gene, changing
the structure of the resultant EGFR
protein. EGFR M+ tumours have shown
greater sensitivity to Tarceva.
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