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Issue : The Pharmaceutical Journal, 12 September 2015, Vol 295, No 7879

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  • Take your medicine with snakes Subscription

    11 SEP 2015 10:46 By Michael Franks

    Recently I received a prescription for Creon capsules and the dose was take two with meals and one with snakes. When a family member of the patient picked up the medicine I pointed out that the patient must have a strange diet because I would have thought it should be one taken with snacks rather than snakes. He laughed and said she only eats one rattlesnake per day! Michael Franks London

  • The ‘de-listing’ of certain treatments from the NHS Cancer Drugs Fund was inevitable with budgets becoming tighter but innovation in drug development must not suffer.

    Encouraging pharmaceutical innovation must come first Subscription

    10 SEP 2015 13:46

    The ‘de-listing’ of certain treatments from the NHS Cancer Drugs Fund was inevitable with budgets becoming tighter but innovation in drug development must not suffer.

  • UK Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt (pictured) wants patients in England to have read-and-write access to their GP medical record via smartphones from 2016 and plans to give patients access to their entire medical record by 2018

    Patient access to medical records: proceed with caution Subscription

    10 SEP 2015 13:42
    Comments (1)

    There are a number of practical issues to consider if patients are to be given full access to their own medical records.

  • When women had genital tract infections, different forms of hormonal contraception affected immune markers involved in acquisition of HIV. In the image, woman taking the pill

    Hormonal contraceptives combined with genital infections alter immunity to HIV-1 Subscription

    10 SEP 2015 13:34

    When women had genital tract infections, different forms of hormonal contraception affected immune markers involved in acquisition of HIV.

  • Researchers found that stopping antihypertensive treatment in older patients with mild cognitive deficits does not slow their cognitive function. In the image, an elderly woman

    Stopping antihypertensives does not slow cognitive decline in older patients Subscription

    10 SEP 2015 12:19

    In patients over 75 years, low blood pressure can worsen cognitive decline, but researchers found that stopping antihypertensives did not help.

  • A new crop of biologic drugs promises to usher asthma treatment into the realm of personalised medicine. In the image, micrograph of lung lining

    Asthma therapies get personal Subscription

    10 SEP 2015 12:13 By Cassandra Willyard

    A new crop of biologic drugs promises to usher asthma treatment into the realm of personalised medicine.

  • Research examining the lifestyle habits of hypertensive patients in Greece has suggested that taking a nap can improve blood pressure. In the image, a man takes a nap

    Midday nappers have lower blood pressure levels and take fewer medications Subscription

    10 SEP 2015 10:35

    Research examining the lifestyle habits of hypertensive patients in Greece has suggested that taking a nap can improve blood pressure.

  • The pharmaceutical industry have, in recent years, focused on development of so-called specialty drugs and have priced them aggressively

    New effective medicines are of no use if they are unaffordable Subscription

    9 SEP 2015 17:18 By John Rother

    In the United States, a campaign has been fighting for transparency in the pricing of specialty drugs.

  • Change in shape for Glucophage tablets Subscription

    9 SEP 2015 15:23

    The shape of Glucophage (metformin) SR tablets 500mg has changed from capsule-shaped biconvex tablets to round biconvex tablets. Additionally, microcrystalline cellulose has been removed from the list of excipients.

  • Consultation on Crohn's disease tests Subscription

    9 SEP 2015 15:21

    The National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has published draft guidance on new tests to help guide treatment for people with Crohn’s disease. The guidance says further research is needed before the tests can be recommended for routine use in the NHS.

  • Community pharmacists should be given read and write access to the health records of palliative care patients to reduce delays in receiving medicines, says the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) Scotland. In the image, pharmacist prepares a prescription

    Full health record access for pharmacists ‘would reduce palliative care delays’ Subscription

    9 SEP 2015 14:22 By Stephen Robinson

    RPS Scotland says lack of records access for community pharmacists delays care and risks patient safety.

  • Diabetic patients with high or very high albuminuria were randomly assigned to receive finerenone or placebo. Finerenone significantly reduced urinary albumin-creatinine ratio at day 90 versus placebo. In the image, histology of a human kidney

    New drug for diabetic kidney disease has promising results Subscription

    9 SEP 2015 12:34

    In an international study, finerenone was effective at reducing protein in the urine without the rate of side effects of other drugs in the class.

  • Leaders warn that the government’s proposed reduction in funding may prevent wider access to public health services through community pharmacies. Pictured image, a pharmacist takes a woman's blood pressure

    Cuts to public health funding risk hampering growth of pharmacy-led healthy living schemes, warns RPS Subscription

    9 SEP 2015 10:40 By Stephen Robinson

    Leaders warn that the government’s proposed reduction in funding may prevent wider access to public health services through community pharmacies.

  • Faculty process is too complex Subscription

    8 SEP 2015 16:23 By Gerry Diamond
    Comments (6)

    The Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) has got revalidation and its Faculty raison d’etre wrong. Firstly, revalidation will not demand the level of scrutiny by the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) that the RPS Faculty sets. There are three rather tortuous levels to be achieved by the Faculty, and what the GPhC will require will probably not exceed the current level one because it will need a bog standard one-size-fits-all approach to meet a basic rationale for practice of its registrants. T

  • Fever in children is one of the most common clinical symptoms managed by healthcare providers. A child is usually regarded as having a fever if his or her temperature is 38○C or above. In the image, an adult holds a thermometer to a child’s ear

    Childhood fever: assessment in primary care Subscription

    8 SEP 2015 16:10 By Faye Chappell

    Identifying the cause of fever in children is challenging, with its management directed by level of risk.

  • NHS England has carried out its much anticipated second assessment of the Cancer Drugs Fund, further reducing the list of drugs paid for by the fund by 17 drugs for 23 different indications. In the image, a woman in hospital receives cancer treatment

    NHS England cuts treatments from Cancer Drugs Fund Subscription

    8 SEP 2015 12:11 By Suzanne Elvidge

    After a second assessment of the Cancer Drugs Fund, NHS England has further reduced the list by 17 drugs for 23 different indications.

  • Design principles for urgent and emergency care Subscription

    8 SEP 2015 11:10

    NHS England has published a guide to design principles that should be adopted to help local health and social care communities deliver safer, faster and better urgent and emergency care. The document, ‘Transforming urgent and emergency care services in England. Safer, faster, ...

  • Peer discussion online workshop Subscription

    8 SEP 2015 11:08

    Every pharmacist and pharmacy technician in England, Scotland and Wales will be invited by the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) to join an online workshop to share, discuss and identify the best approaches to peer discussion that they can use when reflecting on their practice. The workshop will take place in September 2015 and the number of places is limited so access will be granted on a first-come first-serve basis. All ...

  • August 2015: AWMSG approvals Subscription

    8 SEP 2015 11:07

    The following medicines have been approved for use in NHS Wales by the All Wales Medicines Strategy Group (AWMSG): brimonidine gel for treating the symptoms of moderate-to-severe, persistent facial erythema associated with rosacea; Rezolsta (darunavir and cobicistat) for use in combination with other antiretroviral medicines to treat human immunodeficiency virus-1 infection in adults; magnesium aspartate dihydrate for treating and preventing magnesium deficiency in patients aged two ...

  • Olysio updates Subscription

    8 SEP 2015 11:05

    The summary of product characteristics (SPC) for Olysio (simeprevir; Janssen-Cilag) now states that simeprevir inhibits OATP1B1/3, P-gp and BCRP transporters. Additionally, the updated SPC states that hepatic decompensation and hepatic failure, including fatal cases, have been reported in patients taking Olysio in combination with peginterferon alfa and ribavirin and in combination with sofosbuvir. Cases of bradycardia have also been observed when Olysio is used in combination with ...

  • Avastin not suitable for children Subscription

    8 SEP 2015 11:03

    The summary of product characteristics for Avastin (bevacizumab; Roche) has been updated to highlight that Avastin is not approved for use in patients aged under 18 years.

  • Discontinue ViraferonPeg Pen treatment with homicidal ideation Subscription

    8 SEP 2015 11:02

    The summary of product characteristics for ViraferonPeg Pen (peginterferon alfa-2b; Merck Sharp & Dohme) now recommends that treatment is discontinued if the patient experiences homicidal ideation. Additionally, pulmonary fibrosis and pulmonary arterial hypertension have been added as adverse events of unknown frequency.

  • Neuroleptic malignant syndrome with Latuda Subscription

    8 SEP 2015 10:59

    Neuroleptic malignant syndrome has been added as a rare adverse event in the summary of product characteristics for Latuda (lurasidone; Sunovion). 

  • Public Health England (PHE) is encouraging pregnant women to get immunised against whooping cough, an acute respiratory infection, to protect themselves and their babies. In the image, pregnant woman is vaccinated

    Pregnant women urged to get whooping cough vaccine Subscription

    8 SEP 2015 10:18

    Public Health England is encouraging pregnant women to get immunised against whooping cough, an acute respiratory infection caused by the bacterium Bordetella pertussis, to protect themselves and their babies.

  • The chair of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society’s (RPS) Welsh board, Mair Davies, pictured, has been appointed as the Society’s director for Wales

    RPS board chair appointed Wales director Subscription

    8 SEP 2015 9:52

    Mair Davies steps down from Welsh board to take on role within RPS executive.

  • Christine Buchanan van Doorn dies Subscription

    7 SEP 2015 17:03

    On 26 August 2015, Christine Buchanan van Doorn MRPharmS, aged 80, of Ceres, Fife. Mrs van Doorn registered with the Society in 1958.

  • William James Moore dies Subscription

    7 SEP 2015 17:02

    On 28 August 2015, William James Moore, known as Jim, aged 80, of Lyminge, Kent. Mr Moore registered with the Society in 1963 and left in 2004.  

  • Peter Digby Evans dies Subscription

    7 SEP 2015 16:59

    On 1 September 2015, Peter Digby Evans MRPharmS, aged 73, of Frodsham, Cheshire. Mr Evans registered with the Society in 1965.

  • The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved rolapitant (Varubi; Tesaro) as part of a combination of drugs to prevent nausea and vomiting caused by certain types of cancer chemotherapy. In the image, a woman receives chemotherapy

    FDA approves rolapitant to prevent chemotherapy-induced nausea Subscription

    7 SEP 2015 16:20

    The US Food and Drug Administration has approved rolapitant as part of a combination of drugs to prevent nausea and vomiting caused by certain types of cancer chemotherapy.

  • Simon Tweddell (pictured) brought team-based learning to students at the University of Bradford’s School of Pharmacy — and has secured a prize for his radical overhaul of the course.

    How pharmacy students are taught in teams Subscription

    7 SEP 2015 11:58 By Emma Page
    Comments (1)

    Simon Tweddell brought team-based learning to students at the University of Bradford’s School of Pharmacy — and has secured a prize for his radical overhaul of the course.

  • A vaccine candidate has demonstrated its unique ability to elicit a broad and protective immune response against influenza type A group 1 viruses in mice and nonhuman primates. In the image, micrograph of the influenza virus

    Universal flu vaccine works in animals Subscription

    4 SEP 2015 15:57

    A new vaccine that targets a part of the influenza virus common to many viral strains has been developed and found to be effective in animal studies

  • All NHS patients in England will be given read and write access to their full medical records via the internet and through smartphone apps by 2016, the Department of Health (DH) has announced. In the image, a man touches the screen on a tablet

    NHS patients to get full medical records access by 2016 Subscription

    4 SEP 2015 15:14 By Stephen Robinson

    NHS patients in England will be able to electronically access and contribute to their full medical records by 2016, the Department of Health (DH) has announced.

  • Further evidence has emerged that confirms high levels of inappropriate prescribing of antipsychotics to adults with learning disabilities. In the image, a man with down syndrome making a cake

    Widespread prescribing of antipsychotics for intellectually disabled people revealed Subscription

    4 SEP 2015 15:11 By Debbie Andalo

    As many as 71% of adults with a learning disability were prescribed an antipsychotic when they had no record of any mental illness, a study reported in The BMJ has found.

  • A new drug to reduce the risk of cardiovascular mortality and morbidity in adults with symptomatic heart failure and reduced ejection fraction is being fast-tracked to patients under the UK’s Early Access to Medicines Scheme (EAMS)

    Sacubitril/valsartan combination fast-tracked to heart failure patients Subscription

    3 SEP 2015 14:52

    A drug to reduce the risk of cardiovascular mortality and morbidity in adults with heart failure and reduced ejection fraction is being fast-tracked to patients under the UK’s Early Access to Medicines Scheme.

  • Evolocumab is the first treatment to act by inhibiting proprotein convertase subtilisin/kexin type 9 (PCSK9), pictured, an enzyme that reduces the liver’s ability to clear LDL cholesterol (‘bad’ cholesterol) from the blood

    UK launch for cholesterol-lowering PCSK9 inhibitor Subscription

    3 SEP 2015 14:51 By Suzanne Elvidge

    An injectable treatment has been launched for people who struggle to control their cholesterol levels through established diet and drug regimes, including patients with the genetic lipid disorder familial hypercholesterolaemia.

  • Researchers suspect that statins disrupt muscle mitochondria function, a possible mode of action of how they cause muscle toxicity. In the image, micrograph of mitochondrion

    Scientists get closer to finding out why statins cause muscle pain Subscription

    2 SEP 2015 16:25 By George Winter

    Chemical conversion of statins could disrupt muscle mitochondria function, leading to pain and weakness.

  • By using a novel algorithm that took into account patients’ drug intolerances, researchers were able to create an individualised step-wise regimen that led to significant reductions in blood pressure. Pictured, a doctor takes a patient's blood pressure

    Researchers boost hypertension treatment using unconventional approach Subscription

    2 SEP 2015 16:23 By Suzanne Elvidge

    Using approved drugs in unconventional ways could help improve compliance in patients with hypertension, according to a study in The Journal of Clinical Hypertension.

  • Babies receiving the meningitis B vaccine (Bexsero) should be given three doses of infant paracetamol as a prophylactic measure against fever, according to Public Health England (PHE). In the image, infant takes medicine from syringe

    Three paracetamol doses for babies receiving meningitis B vaccine, says PHE Subscription

    1 SEP 2015 17:39

    Babies receiving the meningitis B vaccine (Bexsero) should be given three doses of infant paracetamol as a prophylactic measure against fever, according to advice from Public Health England.

  • Using supplements of omega-3 fatty acids or of other nutrients found in green leafy vegetables does not slow down cognitive decline in older people, according to research. In the image, an elderly woman takes an omega-3 capsule

    Omega-3 supplements fail to slow cognitive decline Subscription

    1 SEP 2015 16:55 By Debbie Andalo

    Using supplements of omega-3 fatty acids or other nutrients found in green leafy vegetables does not slow down cognitive decline in older people, according to new research.

  • All discharge summaries for patients transferring from hospitals in England to the care of their GP must be completed electronically from October 2016. In the image, a hospital receptionist talks on the phone

    Discharge summaries must be electronic from October 2016, says NHS England Subscription

    1 SEP 2015 16:48

    All discharge summaries for patients transferring from hospitals in England to the care of their GP must be completed electronically from October 2016, as part of new digital standards being introduced by the government.

  • Researchers have identified six high-risk medicines or combinations of high-risk medicines which they suggest should be targeted in medicines reviews to reduce iatrogenic disease in older people. In the image, doctor consulting with senior patient

    Target six high-risk drugs during medication reviews, say researchers Subscription

    28 AUG 2015 12:13 By Debbie Andalo
    Comments (2)

    Researchers have identified six high-risk medicines or combinations of high-risk medicines that should be targeted in medicines reviews to reduce iatrogenic disease in older people.

  • Local practice forum events: 21 September – 14 October 2015 Subscription

    28 AUG 2015 11:15

    Monday 21 September: East Anglia

  • We need more industry QPs Subscription

    27 AUG 2015 15:42 By Malcolm Brown

    The demand for Qualified Persons (QPs) is growing. More QPs are retiring than are qualifying.

  • Among strategies used to eradicate Helicobacter pylori (micrograph pictured) infection in adults, the previously recommended seven days of standard triple treatment was the least effective, according to a recent review

    Review highlights most effective H pylori eradication strategies Subscription

    27 AUG 2015 12:54 By George Winter

    Among strategies used to eradicate Helicobacter pylori infection in adults, the previously recommended seven days of standard triple treatment was the least effective, according to a review.

  • Pharmacy body’s guide gives a sense of the qualifications, skills and experience pharmacists may need to work in general practice. In the image, candidates sit waiting for a job interview

    Example job descriptions for practice pharmacists published in GP guide Subscription

    27 AUG 2015 11:41 By Stephen Robinson

    Pharmacy body’s guide gives a sense of the qualifications, skills and experience pharmacists may need to work in general practice.

  • Taking a certain type of beta blocker could prolong the lives of women with ovarian cancer by up to five years. In the image, micrograph of ovarian cancer

    Beta blockers may prolong survival in ovarian cancer patients Subscription

    25 AUG 2015 16:45

    Taking a certain type of beta blocker could prolong the lives of women with ovarian cancer by up to five years, a study published in Cancer suggests.

  • Tuesday 15 September: RPS Faculty webinar Subscription

    24 AUG 2015 11:50

    Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) Faculty webinar, ‘You, your professional practice and the Faculty’. Learn about how using the Faculty assessment supports your professional practice. Find out how the Faculty supports the forthcoming continuing fitness to practise requirements; provides evidence that patient safety is being addressed; and enhances the quality of pharmaceutical care. Discover what the Faculty is, how it fits and benefits your professional development ...

  • Obesity is associated with an increased colorectal cancer risk in patients with a hereditary disease, but this risk is abrogated in those taking aspirin

    Aspirin reduces long-term risk of cancer in obese patients Subscription

    20 AUG 2015 16:51 By George Winter

    Obesity is associated with a greater risk of colorectal cancer in patients with Lynch syndrome but this risk is offset by taking aspirin regularly, an international study shows.

  • Is the registration exam failing trainees? Subscription

    12 AUG 2015 9:49 By Graham Phillips
    Comments (5)

    A cursory examination of pass rates of the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) registration assessment reveals an astonishing level of variation, from a high of 94.5% in 2012 to an all-time low this year of 74.0%. Overall pass rates as published by the GPhC are as follows: 2011: 85.5% 2012: 94.5% 2013: 78.0% 2014: 85.3% 2015: 74.0%

  • New research in roundworms sheds light on the link between food availability and ageing.

    The genetic code that links food and lifespan

    4 JUN 2015 By Pamela Mason

    New research in roundworms sheds light on the link between food availability and ageing.

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