NPS Media Releases -1. Be Medicinewise Week 2. Australian Prescriber


NPS MedicineWise has announced that Be Medicinewise Week will be held again this year from 12-18 October 2015. 

A national awareness week that promotes the safe and wiser use of medicines by all Australians, this is the fifth annual Be Medicinewise Week.

This year’s theme, ‘Be medicinewise at all ages and life stages’, focuses on how and when Australians may use medicines differently at various times in their life.

Each day of the week will focus on a different age and life stage:

*   Monday 12 October: Be medicinewise when pregnant and breastfeeding

*   Tuesday 13 October: Be medicinewise with children

*   Wednesday 14 October: Be medicinewise as a teenager/young adult

*   Thursday 15 October: Be medicinewise when medicines are part of your life

*   Friday 16 October: Be medicinewise  as you’re getting older

NPS MedicineWise clinical adviser Dr Andrew Boyden says that being medicinewise means knowing how and when to use medicines safely and effectively across all life stages.

“Given the changes to our bodies and physiological processes that we experience over a lifespan it is not surprising that one size doesn’t fit all when it comes to medicines. People at different ages and stages in life may need to use medicines quite differently,” says Dr Boyden.

“It is important to be aware of the safe and appropriate use of medicines during pregnancy and breastfeeding — your doctor, midwife or pharmacist is a great source of advice at this stage in life.

“If you’re looking after children, there are important things you need to know about the appropriate selection, safe use, administration and dosage of medicines. Medicine mishaps can cause big problems in little bodies, so if you are a parent or carer it’s important to understand how to safely use medicines with children.

“While you’re young and predominantly healthy, you may only need to think about medicines from time to time, or you may be using complementary medicines such as vitamins. Even if you’re not taking anything regularly, medicine mistakes can happen and it’s crucial to know how to find out important information about your medicines.”

“When you start to get older, medicines may become a regular part of your life. Asking the right questions, keeping records, knowing about brand choices and being aware of interactions are all examples of medicinewise behaviour.

“And when we enter into old age, the way our bodies handle and react to medicines may change as well. Your body can become more sensitive to medicines and medicine interactions — so it is important together with your health professional to regularly review and monitor your medication regimen.”

To help people make wiser decisions about their medicines during any stage of life, NPS MedicineWise will make available a suite of free Be Medicinewise Week resources to support individuals, community groups and health professionals getting involved in the week.

More information on Be Medicinewise Week 2015 will be made available over the coming months at


3 AUGUST 2015
Latest edition of Australian Prescriber out now  

Australian Prescriber celebrates its 40th year in 2015. See the August issue online at 

Update on medicines for smoking cessation

Although nicotine addiction can be difficult to break, research suggests that more and more Australians are quitting thanks to smoking cessation aids. Dr Mike McDonough, Head of Addiction Medicine at Western Health, Melbourne, says that with fewer people smoking each year, the typical ‘smoker’ is now someone with severe nicotine addiction. He reviews the evidence for current treatments, including nicotine replacement therapy and other medicines, and provides advice about the role of e-cigarettes in smoking cessation.

Managing osteoarthritis

While osteoarthritis results from various factors, Sydney rheumatologists Shirley Yu and David Hunter have identified obesity as the single most important risk factor. A 10% weight reduction through diet and exercise can result in a 50% improvement in symptoms. Oral non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are often considered the preferred drug treatment for osteoarthritis, but there are concerns about adverse effects. Research also indicates that a variety of complementary medicines including fish oil, glucosamine and chondroitin are generally not effective for managing pain in osteoarthritis.

Managing obsessive compulsive disorder

Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) is one of the top ten disabling medical conditions. It affects approximately 2% of the population. Vlasios Brakoulias, conjoint senior lecturer in psychiatry at the University of Sydney, outlines the psychological treatments and the use of antidepressants (SSRIs). Combining these approaches is more effective than either treatment alone.

Medical management of chronic stable angina

Chest pain from physical exertion (angina) affects over 350,000 Australians and accounts for approximately 72,000 hospital admissions annually. It is a symptom of cardiovascular disease which is the leading cause of death in Australia. Medicines can help relieve angina, improve quality of life and prevent heart attacks. Yong Wee, Kylie Burns and Nicholas Bett from the Heart Lung Institute in Brisbane explain the importance of risk stratification to define prognosis and guide management, and provide a summary of the medical options for treatment.

Other articles in this edition of Australian Prescriber include:   

*  Minor burn management: potions and lotions

 Blood tests for acute pancreatitis

*  New drugs: Dienogest for endometriosis, febuxostat for hyperuricaemis, ofatumumab for B cell chronic lymphocytic leukaemia

To read full articles and more visit


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