s NPS Media Releases November 2009 | I2P: Information to Pharmacists - Archive
Publication Date 01/07/2014         Volume. 6 No. 6   
Information to Pharmacists


From the desk of the editor

Welcome to the July 2014 homepage edition of i2P (Information to Pharmacists) E-Magazine.
At the commencement of 2014 i2P focused on the need for the entire profession of pharmacy and its associated industry supports to undergo a renewal and regeneration.
We are now half-way through this year and it is quite apparent that pharmacy leaders do not yet have a cohesive and clear sense of direction.
Maybe the new initiative by Woolworths to deliver clinical service through young pharmacists and nurses may sharpen their focus.
If not, community pharmacy can look forward to losing a substantial and profitable market share of the clinical services market.
Who would you blame when that happens?
But I have to admit there is some effort, even though the results are but meagre.
In this edition of i2P we focus on the need for research about community pharmacy, the lack of activity from practicing pharmacists and when some research is delivered, a disconnect appears in its interpretation and implementation.

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Newsflash Updates for July 2014

Newsflash Updates

Regular weekly updates that supplement the regular monthly homepage edition of i2P. 
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Feature Contribution

Woolworths Pharmacy - Getting One Stage Closer

Neil Johnston

It started with “tablet” computers deployed on shelves inside the retailer Coles, specifically to provide information to consumers relating to pain management and the sale of strong analgesics.
This development was reported in i2P under the title Coles Pharmacy Expansion and the Arid PGA Landscape”
In that article we reported that qualified information was a missing link that had come out of Coles market research as the reason to why it had not succeeded in dominating the pain market.
Of course, Woolworths was working on the same problem at the same time and had come up with a better solution - real people with good information.

Comments: 5

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Intensive Exposition without crossing over with a supermarket

Fiona Sartoretto Verna AIAPP

Editor's Note: The understanding of a pharmacy's presentation through the research that goes into the design of fixtures and fittings that highlight displays, is a never-ending component of pharmacy marketing.
Over the past decade, Australian pharmacy shop presentations have fallen behind in standards of excellence.
It does not take rocket science - you just have to open your eyes.
Recently, our two major supermarkets, Woolworths and Coles, have entered into the field of drug and condition information provision - right into the heartland of Australian Pharmacy.

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The sure way to drive business away

Gerald Quigley

I attended the Pregnancy, Baby and Children’s Expo in Brisbane recently.
What an eye and ear opening event that was!
Young Mums, mature Mums, partners of all ages, grandparents and friends……...many asking about health issues and seeking reassurances that they were doing the right thing.

Comments: 1

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‘Marketing Based Medicine’ – how bad is it?

Baz Bardoe

It should be the scandal of the century.
It potentially affects the health of almost everyone.
Healthcare providers and consumers alike should be up in arms. But apart from coverage in a few credible news sources the problem of ‘Marketing Based Medicine,’ as psychiatrist Dr Peter Parry terms it, hasn’t as yet generated the kind of universal outrage one might expect.

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Community Pharmacy Research - Are You Involved?

Mark Coleman

Government funding is always scarce and restricted.
If you are ever going to be a recipient of government funds you will need to fortify any application with evidence.
From a government perspective, this minimises risk.
I must admit that while I see evidence of research projects being managed by the PGA, I rarely see community pharmacists individually and actively engaged in the type of research that would further their own aims and objectives (and survival).

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Organisational Amnesia and the Lack of a Curator Inhibits Cultural Progress

Neil Johnston

Most of us leave a tremendous impact on pharmacies we work for (as proprietors, managers, contractors or employees)—in ways we’re not even aware of.
But organisational memories are often all too short, and without a central way to record that impact and capture the knowledge and individual contributions, they become lost to time.
It is ironic that technology has provided us with phenomenal tools for communication and connection, but much of it has also sped up our work lives and made knowledge and memory at work much more ephemeral.

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Academics on the payroll: the advertising you don't see

Staff Writer

This article was first published in The Conversation and was written by Wendy Lipworth, University of Sydney and Ian Kerridge, University of Sydney
In the endless drive to get people’s attention, advertising is going ‘native’, creeping in to places formerly reserved for editorial content. In this Native Advertising series we find out what it looks like, if readers can tell the difference, and more importantly, whether they care.
i2P has republished the article as it supports our own independent and ongoing investigations on how drug companies are involved in marketing-based medicine rather than evidence-based medicine.

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I’ve been thinking about admitting wrong.

Mark Neuenschwander

Editor's Note: This is an early article by Mark Neuenschwander we have republished after the soul-searching surrounding a recent Australian dispensing error involving methotrexate.
Hmm. There’s more than one way you could take that, huh? Like Someday when I get around to it (I’m not sure) I may admit that I was wrong about something. Actually, I’ve been thinking about the concept of admitting wrong. So don’t get your hopes up. No juicy confessions this month except that I wish it were easier for me to admit when I have been wrong or made a mistake.
Brian Goldman, an ER physician from Toronto, is host of the award-winning White Coat, Black Art on CBC Radio and slated to deliver the keynote at The unSUMMIT for Bedside Barcoding in Anaheim this May. His TED lecture, entitled, “Doctors make mistakes. Can we talk about it?” had already been viewed by 386,072 others before I watched it last week.

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Dispensing errors – a ripple effect of damage

Kay Dunkley - BPharm, Grad Dip Hosp Pharm, Grad Dip Health Admin, MPS, MSHPA

Most readers will be aware of recent publicity relating to dispensing errors and in particular to deaths caused by methotrexate being incorrectly packed in dose administration aids.
The Pharmacy Board of Australia (PBA), in its Communique of 13 June 2014, described a methotrexate packing error leading to the death of a patient and noted “extra vigilance is required to be exercised by pharmacists with these drugs”.
This same case was reported by A Current Affair (ACA) in its program on Friday 20 June

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Take a vacation from your vocation

Harvey Mackay

Have you ever had one of those days when all you could think was, “Gosh, do I need a vacation.”
Of course you have – because all work and no play aren’t good for anyone.
A vacation doesn’t have to be two weeks on a tropical island, or even a long weekend at the beach. 
A vacation just means taking a break from your everyday activities. 
A change of pace. 
It doesn’t matter where.
Everyone needs a vacation to rejuvenate mentally and physically. 
But did you also know that you can help boost our economy by taking some days off? 
Call it your personal stimulus package.

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Explainer: what is peer review?

Staff Writer

This article was first published in the Conversation. It caught our eye because "peer review" it is one of the standards for evidence-based medicines that has also been corrupted by global pharma.
The article is republished by i2P as part of its ongoing investigation into scientific fraud and was writtenby Andre Spicer, City University London and Thomas Roulet, University of Oxford
We’ve all heard the phrase “peer review” as giving credence to research and scholarly papers, but what does it actually mean?
How does it work?
Peer review is one of the gold standards of science. It’s a process where scientists (“peers”) evaluate the quality of other scientists' work. By doing this, they aim to ensure the work is rigorous, coherent, uses past research and adds to what we already knew.
Most scientific journals, conferences and grant applications have some sort of peer review system. In most cases it is “double blind” peer review. This means evaluators do not know the author(s), and the author(s) do not know the identity of the evaluators.
The intention behind this system is to ensure evaluation is not biased.
The more prestigious the journal, conference, or grant, the more demanding will be the review process, and the more likely the rejection. This prestige is why these papers tend to be more read and more cited.

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Dentists from the dark side?

Loretta Marron OAM BSc

While dining out with an elderly friend, I noticed that he kept his false tooth plate in his shirt pocket. He had recently had seven amalgam-filled teeth removed, because he believed that their toxins were making him sick; but his new plate was uncomfortable. He had been treated by an 'holistic dentist'. Claiming to offer a "safe and healthier alternative" to conventional dentistry, are they committed to our overall health and wellbeing or are they promoting unjustified fear, unnecessarily extracting teeth and wasting our money?

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Planning for Profit in 2015 – Your key to Business Success

Chris Foster

We are now entering a new financial year and it’s a great time to reflect on last year and highlight those things that went well and those that may have impacted negatively in the pursuit of your goals.
It's also a great to spend some time re-evaluating your personal and business short, medium and long term goals in the light of events over the last year.
The achievement of your goals will in many cases be dependent on setting and aspiring to specific financial targets. It's important that recognise that many of your personal goals will require you to generate sufficient business profits to fund those aspirations

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ReWalk™ Personal Exoskeleton System Cleared by FDA for Home Use

Staff Writer

Exoskeleton leader ReWalk Robotics announced today that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has cleared the company’s ReWalk Personal System for use at home and in the community.
ReWalk is a wearable robotic exoskeleton that provides powered hip and knee motion to enable individuals with Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) to stand upright and walk.
ReWalk, the only exoskeleton with FDA clearance via clinical studies and extensive performance testing for personal use, is now available throughout the United States.

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Attracting and Retaining Great People

Barry Urquhart

Welcome to the new financial year in Australia.
For many in business the past year has been described as a challenging period.
Adjectives are a key feature of the English language.  In the business lexicon their use can be, and often is evocative and stimulate creative images.  But they can also contribute to inexact, emotional perceptions.
Throughout the financial pages of newspapers and business magazines adjectives abound.
References to “hot” money draw attention and comment.  The recent wave of funds from Chinese investors, keen to remove their wealth from the jurisdiction and control of government regulations is creating a potential property bubble in Australia.

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Updating Your Values - Extending Your Culture

Neil Johnston

Pharmacy culture is dormant.
Being comprised of values, unless each value is continually addressed, updated or deleted, entire organisations can stagnate (or entire professions such as the pharmacy profession).
Good values offer a strong sense of security, knowing that if you operate within the boundaries of your values, you will succeed in your endeavours.

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Evidence-based medicine is broken. Why we need data and technology to fix it

Staff Writer

The following article is reprinted from The Conversation and forms up part of our library collection on evidence-based medicines.
At i2P we also believe that the current model of evidence is so fractured it will never be able to be repaired.
All that can happen is that health professionals should independently test and verify through their own investigations what evidence exists to prescribe a medicine of any potency.
Health professionals that have patients (such as pharmacists) are ideally placed to observe and record the efficacy for medicines.
All else should confine their criticisms to their evidence of the actual evidence published.
If there are holes in it then share that evidence with the rest of the world.
Otherwise, do not be in such a hurry to criticise professions that have good experience and judgement to make a good choice on behalf of their patients, simply because good evidence has not caught up with reality.

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Laropiprant is the Bad One; Niacin is/was/will always be the Good One

Staff Writer

Orthomolecular Medicine News Service, July 25, 2014
Laropiprant is the Bad One; Niacin is/was/will always be the Good One
by W. Todd Penberthy, PhD

(OMNS July 25, 2014) Niacin has been used for over 60 years in tens of thousands of patients with tremendously favorable therapeutic benefit (Carlson 2005).
In the first-person NY Times best seller, "8 Weeks to a Cure for Cholesterol," the author describes his journey from being a walking heart attack time bomb to a becoming a healthy individual.
He hails high-dose niacin as the one treatment that did more to correct his poor lipid profile than any other (Kowalski 2001).

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Culture Drive & Pharmacy Renewal

Neil Johnston

Deep within all of us we have a core set of values and beliefs that create the standards of behaviour that we align with when we set a particular direction in life.
Directions may change many times over a lifetime, but with life experiences and maturity values may increase in number or gain greater depth.
All of this is embraced under one word – “culture”.
When a business is born it will only develop if it has a sound culture, and the values that comprise that culture are initially inherent in the business founder.
A sound business culture equates to a successful business and that success is often expressed in the term “goodwill” which can be eventually translated to a dollar value.

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ReWalk™ Personal Exoskeleton System Cleared by FDA for Home Use

Staff Writer

Exoskeleton leader ReWalk Robotics announced today that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has cleared the company’s ReWalk Personal System for use at home and in the community.
ReWalk is a wearable robotic exoskeleton that provides powered hip and knee motion to enable individuals with Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) to stand upright and walk.
ReWalk, the only exoskeleton with FDA clearance via clinical studies and extensive performance testing for personal use, is now available throughout the United States.

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Pharmacy 2014 - Pharmacy Management Conference

Neil Johnston

The brave new world of health and wellness is not the enemy of Pharmacy, it is its champion.
Australian futurist, Morris Miselowski, one of the world's leading business visionaries, will present the Opening Keynote address on Pharmacy's Future in the new Health and Wellness Landscape at 2.00pm on Wednesday July 30.
Morris believes the key to better health care could already be in your pocket, with doctors soon set to prescribe iPhone apps, instead of pills.
Technology will revolutionise the health industry - a paradigm shift from healthcare to personal wellness.
Health and wellness applications on smartphones are already big news, and are dramatically changing the way we manage our personal health and everyday wellness.

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Generation and Application of Community Pharmacy Research

Neil Johnston

Editor’s Note: We have had a number of articles in this issue relating to pharmacy research.
The PGA has conducted a number of research initiatives over the years, including one recently reported in Pharmacy News that resulted from an analysis of the QCPP Patient Questionnaire.
Pharmacy Guild president, George Tambassis, appears to have authored the article following, and there also appears to be a disconnect between the survey report and its target audience illustrated by one of the respondent comments published.
I have asked Mark Coleman to follow through, elaborate and comment:

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NPS Media Releases November 2009

NPS Spokesperson

articles by this author...

Regular information provided by NPS – Better choices, better health - NPS enables people to be medicinewise.

The National Prescribing Service (NPS) is a valued independent resource for accurate, evidence-based prescribing information and education. Given the marketing pressures applied by global drug companies, NPS plays a vital and unique role across the healthcare sector.

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24 November 2009

R U OK with your medicines?

On Sunday 29 November 2009 the inaugural R U OK? Day will bring Australians together in a bid to raise awareness of risks contributing to suicide. The event encourages people to reach out to friends and loved ones and simply ask, ‘Are you ok?’.

As a provider of medicines information, the National Prescribing Service (NPS) is a unique supporter of R U OK? Day, and urges people to think about whether they are ok with their medicines.

“The role of medicines and non-medicine treatments in both depression and chronic diseases should not be underestimated, which is why we want people to stop and actually consider if they are ok with their medicines,” NPS CEO, Dr Lynn Weekes said.

“This includes knowing what your medicine is for and how to take it; being able to manage the cost of your medicines and speaking up if things are getting hard; and recognising that lifestyle changes can sometimes be as effective as medicines.”

The number of Australians diagnosed with chronic diseases each year is increasing rapidly and while diagnosis can be a relief, for many it means having to completely change their lifestyle. This can also affect family members and carers.

“People with chronic diseases and their carers will benefit from the new webpage we have put together which collates information about medicine management and antidepressants,” Dr Weekes said.

Resources have been provided to GP clinics and pharmacies to raise awareness of R U OK? Day and to ensure health professionals have the information necessary to help anyone who may need it.

In the lead up to R U OK? Day businesses are encouraged to take part in R U OK? Arvo on Friday 27 November which aims to reduce stress and depression in the workplace by encouraging work mates to connect and support each other.

“NPS is committed to the health and wellbeing of its staff and will be encouraging everyone to take part in activities during the afternoon. We hope our member organisations and their members are able to lead by example and take part in this event too,” Dr Weekes said.

23 November 2009

Push for complementary medicines to be in all medical, pharmacy curricula

The National Prescribing Service (NPS) welcomes calls for improved complementary and alternate medicine training in universities and says all health professionals have a responsibility to ensure these products are used safely.

Speaking at the annual scientific meeting of the Australasian College for Emergency Medicine in Melbourne, Dr Lesley Braun said health professionals need better training at university about complementary medicines and their interactions with conventional drugs, and to make an effort to stay informed.

Research conducted by NPS last year into the complementary medicine information needs and uses found a number of issues relating to the transfer of information between health professionals and consumers.

“Most complementary medicine users are self-prescribing without understanding the implications of what they are taking, and in a number of cases, they aren’t using the products in the way they are intended,” NPS CEO, Dr Lynn Weekes said.

“At best, this may mean consumers aren’t getting the maximum benefit from the complementary medicine. At worst, they may be putting their health at risk.”

While half the consumers surveyed admitted to not telling their doctor or pharmacist they were taking complementary medicines, many health professionals said they often didn’t ask because they weren’t confident discussing these medicines with patients.

“A number of practising health professionals may not have received formal training about these medicines at university but the information is continuously changing so it’s up to each individual to keep informed,” Dr Weekes said.

A second piece of research conducted by NPS, Mater Health Services Brisbane, Bond University and the University of Queensland between June and November 2008 identified and ranked the most useful complementary medicine information sources available to health professionals.

Both studies noted the need for a centralised data point that includes accurate, independent information about adverse effects, interactions with other medicines, contraindications and clinical evidence.

“Between the growing rate of complementary medicine use, the prevalence of chronic diseases and the rising number of people being hospitalised for adverse events, it’s vital today’s medical and pharmacy students gain a comprehensive understanding of safe medicines use and have ongoing access to accurate information,” Dr Weekes said.

16 November 2009

New DVD explains medicines use issues for type 2 diabetes patients

The National Prescribing Service (NPS) and Diabetes TASMANIA have launched a new educational DVD aimed at people with type 2 diabetes, which addresses medicines use issues.

The DVD is designed to be used by health professionals and community organisations when discussing the management of type 2 diabetes with newly diagnosed patients.

“The theme of World Diabetes Day (14 November) was education and prevention, which are at the heart of diabetes management,” NPS CEO, Dr Lynn Weekes said.

“Education relates not only to understanding diabetes and how to prevent it, but also how to manage the condition. The medicines use issues associated with managing type 2 diabetes and related conditions can be complex and are unlikely to be fully absorbed by a patient during a consultation.”

The DVD comprises 11 segments which cover issues including the types of medicines used to manage type 2 diabetes, the best ways to manage medicines, and what patients should discuss with their healthcare providers. It is also being produced in Cantonese, Mandarin and German as there is a high prevalence of type 2 diabetes within these ethno-specific groups in Australia.

Diabetes TASMANIA’s CEO, Caroline Wells, said there is a need for high quality information that is easy to understand and available to people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.

“Type 2 diabetes is one of the fast-growing chronic illnesses in Australia – its prevalence is expected to nearly double over the next 40 years, but there has been a lack of educational resources that focus on medicines use issues,” Ms Wells said.

The 11 segments have also been made available at www.nps.org/type2diabetes and www.diabetestas.com.au.

“While the online videos are not a substitute for conversations between the patient and their healthcare providers, they complement the information provided by doctors and pharmacists, and can be viewed at someone’s leisure in the comfort of their home,” Ms Wells said.

To order the DVD phone Diabetes TASMANIA on 03 6215 9000.

Brochures promoting the DVD and online segments will be made available to doctors and NDSS-pharmacies shortly.

3 November 2009

Get to know your medicines campaign wins National Multicultural

 Marketing Award

The National Prescribing Service Ltd (NPS) and Federation of Ethnic Communities’ Councils of Australia (FECCA) have won a prestigious National Multicultural Marketing Award for seminars and radio interviews run in Cantonese, Mandarin and Italian as part of the 2008 Get to know your medicines campaign.

The campaign took out the AFL Community Award category at the NSW Community Relations Commission presentation dinner held last night at the Westin Hotel in Sydney.

The Get to know your medicines campaign ran from September 2008 and aimed to promote skills and knowledge around using medicines safely to seniors from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities. It built on the same campaign run in 2007 which focused on English-speaking seniors. The seminars were run by 16 ethno-specific organisations across Australia between September and December 2008.

“We are thrilled to receive this National Multicultural Marketing Award and be acknowledged by the Commission for the work we are doing with ethno-specific organisations,” NPS CEO, Dr Lynn Weekes said.

“The risks of using medicines are heightened for CALD seniors, particularly those with low English language proficiency and literacy levels. This is why we are dedicating time and resources to running programs at a community level,” Dr Weekes said.

FECCA Chair, Pino Migliorino said the award shows how effectively NPS and FECCA are working together to bring the safe medicine use message to CALD communities.

“Australians from non-English speaking backgrounds are over-represented in the number of people hospitalised each year for adverse medicines events. FECCA is pleased to be working with NPS to address this issue and ensure culturally and linguistically diverse communities have the same access to vital information about medicines,” Mr Migliorino said.

NPS and FECCA’s work with CALD communities has won other multicultural awards including:

· 2008 Multicultural Communication Award for 2009 Italian Get to know your medicines calendar.

· 2008 Multicultural Communication certificate of commendation for education session resources.

· 2005 National Multicultural Marketing Awards from the Community Relations Commission.

· 2005 Multicultural Communication Award from NSW Multicultural Health Communication Service.

In 2010 information seminars about safe medicines use and good sleep practices will be run in Mandarin, Cantonese, Italian, Vietnamese, Greek and Arabic.

2 November 2009

Identifying symptoms and treating anxiety

Up to one in five people presenting to GPs and pharmacists will experience symptoms of an anxiety disorder at some point during their life.

To help health professionals accurately diagnose and treat anxiety, the National Prescribing Service (NPS) has developed a new education program, Managing anxiety disorders.

“Anxiety disorders are characterised by combinations of key symptoms; excessive anxiety, fear, worry, avoidance and compulsive rituals that are associated with impaired function or significant distress,” NPS senior clinical adviser, Judith Mackson said.

“Anxiety symptoms may be primary or secondary to other physical or psychiatric disorders. To accurately diagnose anxiety disorders, health professionals need to characterise all the anxiety symptoms against criteria.”

The NPS Managing anxiety disorders program encourages health professionals to:

· Use key symptoms to differentiate between types of anxiety disorders and determine effective treatment

· Trial non-drug therapy including psychological therapy as first line

· Consider an antidepressant for those who do not respond adequately to psychological therapies, selecting on the basis of evidence of efficacy in the diagnosed anxiety disorder

· Reserve benzodiazepines for short-term use in selected circumstances

“Psychological therapies should be the first treatment choice in most anxiety disorders to control symptoms and improve function. This includes cognitive behavioural therapy and other non-drug strategies,” Ms Mackson said.

If psychological and other non-drug therapies do not provide sufficient benefit, an antidepressant may be considered. There is however no evidence that starting with combined therapy is more effective than either an antidepressant or psychological therapies alone.

“Health professionals also need to consider the adverse effect profile before prescribing an antidepressant. Not all antidepressants have been assessed for efficacy for all anxiety disorders, nor can efficacy be generalised across an antidepressant class,” Ms Mackson warned.

“In general, benzodiazepines should only be recommended for people who have not responded to at least two therapies, as they may cause dependence. This is particularly the case in those with a history of dependence on alcohol and/or other drugs,” Ms Mackson said.

As part of the therapeutic program, health professionals can utilise:

· Case study (60): Managing anxiety disorders

· Prescribing Practice Review (48): Managing anxiety disorders in primary care

· NPS News (65): Which treatment for what anxiety disorder?

For more information visit www.nps.org.au, phone (02) 8217 8700 or email info@nps.org.au.



Media enquiries to Katie Butt, Media Adviser, 0419 618 365 or kbutt@nps.org.au

The National Prescribing Service Limited (NPS) is an independent, not-for-profit organisation for quality use of medicines funded by the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing.

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