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Published: 29 July, 2022


New article - H. pylori: who to test and how to treat

Helicobacter pylori is a gram-negative bacterium associated with long-term gastric inflammation. The prevalence in New Zealand is lower than in many other parts of the world, but this is still a potential factor in people presenting with dyspepsia-like symptoms: particularly those of non-European ethnicity. In this article we discuss the risk-based approach to investigation for H. pylori, along with the recommended test and treatment regimen.

Read the full article here.

Coming up next - Coeliac disease: not just a gut feeling

COVID-19 health notifications

There are increasing reports in the media that we have now reached the peak of case numbers in the latest COVID-19 wave. This, however, is not necessarily reflected in the number of people seeking healthcare services. It is also highly likely that many people are not testing for, or reporting, infections. More indicative measures of the true burden of infection include hospitalisations and wastewater test results.

Guidance for recovery from acute COVID-19

As the cumulative number of people who have had COVID-19 infection continues to increase in New Zealand, healthcare professionals will find themselves more frequently providing care to patients who have ongoing symptoms. The Ministry of Health has recently published a “living document” produced via a collaboration of allied health professionals, that “highlights the complexity and potential long-term needs” of people recovering from the acute phase of COVID-19. While this document does not directly cover the role of general practice, it gives insight into the types of issues that allied health professionals, e.g. physiotherapists, psychologists, social workers, can support these patients with in their rehabilitation. A separate document is currently being developed for long COVID rehabilitation.

Ocular decongestant drops should not be used in children

Medsafe is currently consulting on a proposal to add warning statements to ocular decongestant eye drops to prevent inappropriate use in children. This serves as a general reminder to pharmacists and other health professionals that eye drops containing naphazoline (e.g. Clear Eyes) should not be used in children aged under 12 years: some packaging does not state this precaution.

Warning over adulterated herbal product marketed for inflammation

Medsafe has issued a warning about a herbal product being marketed and sold in New Zealand via social media and other channels, that has been found to contain at least three prescription medicines. Nhan Sam Tuyet Lien Truy Phong Hoan is promoted using therapeutic claims that it is useful for the treatment of gout, arthritis, lower back pain and other inflammation. It contains furosemide, chlorpheniramine and dexamethasone (which is not stated in product information). Any patients taking this medicine should be advised to stop use immediately. N.B. the product and packaging is pictured within the Medsafe statement.

First annual report on assisted dying

The Assisted Dying – Ngā Ratonga Mate Whakaahuru service came into effect on the 7 November, 2021, as a result of the End of Life Choice Act (2019). The first annual report on this service, covering the period 7 November, 2021 – 31 March, 2022, has now been published. The report covers how the service was implemented, the groups, organisations and workforce involved, the people who have applied to access the service, and the feedback to date.

Paper of the Week: Fever therapy

Starve a fever, feed a cold…hang on, is that right? And does it just mean no chicken soup or is it no medicines either? Although we can safely relegate this saying into the annals of “Old Wives Tales”, there has been much debate from actual clinical professionals over the role of antipyretics in reducing fever – is this an essential treatment, or does this practice impair the body’s ability to fight off the infection?

This question has been answered in the latest edition of BMJ with a meta-analysis and systematic review of 42 clinical trials. We will go through the results below, but for those of you who love a spoiler…keep on feeding that fever (with antipyretics), or not, it doesn’t seem to make much difference either way.

Holgersson J, Ceric A, Sethi N et al. Fever therapy in febrile adults: systematic review with meta-analyses and trial sequential analyses. BMJ 2022;378:e069620. doi:

This Bulletin is supported by the South Link Education Trust

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