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Top ten features in The Pharmaceutical Journal in 2018

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creen showing Zika virus feature image

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Features can be timeless articles on an aspect of drug development, pharmacy practice or medicines optimisation, or topical pieces that delve further into news stories to give context and analysis. It has been an interesting year in pharmacy, from the rescheduling of cannabis to the patent expiry of the NHS’s most costly drug, and the magazine’s features section reflects this, and much more.

The most-read feature of those published on our website during 2018 was one on the search for a vaccine against Zika virus. However, the most-read feature overall was one on experimental treatment strategies for oral and genital herpes, published in 2016.

The top ten features published in 2018 were:

1. Zika vaccine development: two years on from the outbreak

Two years after the World Health Organization declared the Zika virus outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International Concern, researchers have made good progress in developing vaccines against the disease, with some candidates now in phase II trials. However, the brief nature of the outbreak is making wide-scale testing of the new vaccines difficult and some research programmes have already been curtailed.

2. Immunotherapy for type 1 diabetes: what’s in the pipeline?

For many autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis and psoriasis, drugs that work by targeting components of the immune system are providing relief for millions of patients. However, there is no immunotherapy currently licensed for type 1 diabetes, and the reasons for this are multifold. A number of research groups and pharmaceutical companies are focusing on various aspects of the immune system to try to develop an effective immunotherapy for type 1 diabetes.

3. ‘Like a hug from everyone who loves you’ — how MDMA could help patients with trauma

When combined with intensive psychotherapy sessions, MDMA — commonly known as ecstasy — has elicited impressive results in phase II trials, and a global phase III study is just beginning.

4. Preparing for the big biologic switch

With blockbuster biologic adalimumab coming off patent in October 2018, pharmacists should be ready to switch patients to the best-value biologic as alternatives become available.

5. Medical cannabis: what will pharmacy’s role be?

How the UK has realised the benefits of medical cannabis and the involvement pharmacists could have in its supply.

6. RNA interference therapies could be on the cusp of success

This new way of modifying problematic gene expression has had a rocky start — but things are looking up.

Non-adherence to prescribed medicines is one of the biggest obstacles to effective healthcare, impacting on patients, healthcare professionals, pharmaceutical companies and healthcare systems. Pharmacists are ideally placed to improve adherence, but are effective interventions available and how can pharmacists match patients to an appropriate intervention?

8. Ten things pharmacists should know about biologics and biosimilars

As healthcare professionals prepared for blockbuster biologic Humira to come off patent on 16 October 2018, we highlighted what pharmacists need to know about switching from originator biologics to biosimilars in order to get the best value from these medicines.

9. The trials and triumphs of pharmacist independent prescribers

Pharmacist independent prescribing was introduced in 2006 but, to date, only 11% of pharmacists have qualified — and those who have do not always have the opportunity to prescribe. Some barriers to prescribing are common across all sectors, but community pharmacists face particular challenges in terms of access to records and lack of time.

10. Pain relief: designing better opioids

While opioids are powerful painkillers, they come with dangerous side effects and carry a sometimes fatal risk of addiction. However, new, safer opioids are being developed using a variety of innovative strategies to maximise analgesic properties, while reducing the burden of side effects.

If you have suggestions for topics that you would like us to cover in the features section, please send me an email dawn.connelly@rpharms.com or tweet me @DawnConnelly73

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