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2018 Annual Prescribing Report

This report provides you with an opportunity to reflect on your prescribing of the most commonly dispensed medicines in primary care in New Zealand. View Contents

Prescribing hypnotic medicines: a focus on zopiclone

Key practice points

  • Zopiclone is the most frequently prescribed hypnotic medicine, and one of the highest prescribed medicines in New Zealand overall
  • This report contains data on dispensing of zopiclone to patients seen by you, or your practice, using the latest 12 months of available data
  • Nationally:
    • Dispensing of zopiclone starts to increase from around age 30 years
    • Many patients dispensed zopiclone receive large numbers of tablets, including younger patients:
      • 20% of patients receive enough tablets for approximately one every second night, or more
      • Of this group, one-quarter are aged 55 years or under
  • Non-pharmacological approaches are the preferred first-line treatment for insomnia
  • Hypnotic medicines, including zopiclone and benzodiazepines, can provide short-term benefit but are associated with a range of adverse effects including falls, motor vehicle accidents and a possible link with dementia
View Contents

Prescribing topical medicines for skin infection - An update

This report provides an update on the use and monitoring of topical antibiotics between January, 2016 and March, 2018 in primary care in New Zealand.

What prescribers need to know

  • Fusidic acid should NOT be used as a first-line treatment for skin infections, wound management, infected eczema or impetigo
  • Good hygiene measures and topical antiseptics such as hydrogen peroxide or povidone iodine should be used for minor skin infections
  • If antibiotics are required for skin infections, oral antibiotics are preferred
  • Topical antibiotics should be prescribed for short courses only, e.g. five to seven days, to minimise the development of resistance
View Contents

Analgesic Update - 2018

Key messages

  • Evaluate the type, cause and severity of a patient’s pain to determine which analgesics should be prescribed and if an opioid analgesic is appropriate
  • Multi-modal analgesia (concurrent use of analgesics with different modes of action) can improve analgesic effectiveness, reduce the dose of opioids if these are prescribed, reduce adverse effects and minimise the length of time that patients require opioids
  • Provide an analgesic plan that guides appropriate use of analgesics and gives information on when they should be reduced or stopped as their pain improves. This plan can be verbal but written instructions are likely to be safer and more effective.
  • Prescribe strong opioids for severe pain with morphine first-line and oxycodone as a second-line option if patients are unable to tolerate morphine
View Contents