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Australian Prescriber is a free, independent publication providing readily accessible information about drugs and therapeutics, published by NPS MedicineWise. It covers topics for health professionals, students and consumers. Read more about Australian Prescriber here.
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Many new drugs, including those Victoria Atkinson reviews in the article on medical management of malignant melanoma, are expensive. While there is an expectation that money will be found to fund new therapies, millions of dollars are being wasted. Phillip Bergen and colleagues have found that Australians return more than 600 tonnes of unwanted medicines every year.
Antibiotics are among the most commonly discarded drugs. This could contribute to increased antibiotic resistance. Brendan McMullan and Mona Mostaghim also warn against unfettered prescribing of azithromycin because of the risk of macrolide resistance.
Another drug that requires careful prescribing is quetiapine. Jonathan Brett says the concerns about quetiapine are mainly due to its off-label use. Greta Palmer tells us there is also a lack of evidence for many of the drugs used to treat complex regional pain syndrome.
While the diagnosis of complex regional pain syndrome is clinical, laboratory tests may be needed to exclude other conditions. These could include investigation of inflammation. Michael Harrison discusses the role of measurements of erythrocyte sedimentation rate and C-reactive protein.
The role of oxygen as a drug is reviewed by Janine Pilcher and Richard Beasley. They call for a major change in the acute use of oxygen therapy.
Many other drugs have a role in acute medical conditions. The Editorial Executive Committee hopes the new Australian Prescriber mobile phone app will support health professionals when they are determining the dose of the emergency drugs supplied through the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.