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Published: 6 August, 2021


What's new: latest articles online

We have been working on updating some of our previous topics and have three new series online now:

Based on the updated New Zealand guidelines, along with best practice guidance, this series of five articles guides primary care health professionals to help patients select the right contraceptive option for them. The series includes comprehensive information on each method of contraception, along with a CME quiz and peer group discussion.

Over a two-part series we discuss the challenges of ensuring that gout is well managed in our communities, treatment for gout flares, prompt initiation and effective titration of urate-lowering treatment and ongoing monitoring and follow-up support.

Emollients form the basis of treatment for all people with eczema, however, they are often not used as well as they could be. The first article in this series covers the range of pharmacological treatments for eczema, along with self-care techniques and support for caregivers at home. The second article focuses on topical corticosteroids; how much to use and what potency for where.

New Primary Care Update Series topic now available: Rheumatology Trio

We have recently published a new topic in the Update Series Musculoskeletal theme – the Rheumatology Trio. To purchase this update, or to browse other available topics in the musculoskeletal and cardiovascular systems, click here. The first topic on Atrial Fibrillation is free!

The Rheumatology Trio includes three 30-minute episodes (narrated slide-casts) discussing the detection and management of polymyalgia rheumatica, systemic lupus erythematosus and axial spondyloarthritis, with guest commentary from Associate Professor Simon Stebbings. Although these conditions vary in terms of pathophysiology, clinical presentation and treatment approach, they are all linked in that they are sources of chronic pain and can affect the quality of life for many patients in primary care, particularly if they are not recognised early. The Trio topic also includes key practice point resources and a CME quiz.

Get ready for your Annual Pharmaceutical Report

This year our Annual Report takes a first look at how the challenges and changes to general practice during the COVID-19 pandemic have impacted medicine use in New Zealand.

In the National Report (available to everyone), we seek answers to the following questions:

  • Were there changes in the number of dispensed prescriptions overall and was there any evidence of worsening inequities in dispensing by ethnicity?
  • What happened to antibiotic dispensing?
  • Were more people dispensed antidepressants, anti-anxiety or insomnia medicines?
  • Did people keep taking their medicines for long-term conditions, e.g. statins, anti-hypertensives, glucose-lowering medicines?

The second part of the report is the interactive personalised section for primary care prescribers. Here you will find detailed information on your prescribing trends for 2020, as well as for your practice. You will be able to compare your own data against national trends and those of other prescribers like you.

The Annual Report is coming very soon so make sure you have your Mybpac account and login details ready. Check your Mybpac login here.

Don’t have a Mybpac account?

Anyone can create an account, but this is especially important if you are a primary care prescriber as you will be able to access personalised reports and other features. Register your details and start today. It’s free.

Have an account but forgot your username and password?

Reset your password and/or retrieve your login details here.

New Zealand Formulary updates for August

Significant changes to the NZF in the August, 2021, release include new monographs for rasagiline and topical tacrolimus, some changes to existing monographs, including empagliflozin, and new therapeutic notes for bronchiectasis, endometriosis and contraceptives.

PHARMAC medicine funding and supply issues

The following issues relating to medicine funding and supply have been recently announced by PHARMAC:

New Ministry of Health guidelines for mercury exposure

The Ministry of Health has published new guidelines for the investigation and environmental case management of people exposed to mercury in non-occupational settings. The guidelines are largely aimed at a Public Health Unit response but contain some practical information for initial detection and management of cases. Common sources of mercury in the home include broken thermometers and fluorescent light bulbs, amalgam fillings, cosmetics and traditional medicines. Mercury can also accumulate in food sources such as fish and shellfish (read more about this here).

A reminder that any suspected or confirmed cases of mercury exposure should be reported via the Hazardous Substances Disease and Injury Reporting Tool (HSDIRT); this is available via Medtech, Indici, MyPractice and Profile patient management systems.

Paper of the week: Electronic devices may affect pacemakers and other implanted medical devices

In May, 2021 the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) issued a warning that magnets in cell phones, smart watches and other personal electronic devices with high field strength magnets may interfere with pacemakers and some other implanted medical devices. The magnets in the electronic devices cause the medical device to enter "magnet mode" and cease functioning until the magnet is removed; this function is built into medical devices so users can undergo MRI or other scans.

This Bulletin is supported by the South Link Education Trust

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