Accessing pharmacotherapy (opioid replacement therapy) during COVID-19

Alcohol and Drug Foundation (Australia), April 27th 2020

There are now new challenges for people who access opioid replacement therapy (ORT) due to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic. Many may be experiencing anxiety and fear due to COVID-19 and trying to reduce and mitigate these feelings is vital.

In most cases, people who are on ORT are required to visit their health clinic or pharmacy on a daily basis. This can be more difficult for people right now, due to restrictions on movement and the social distancing regulations imposed to curtail COVID-19.

 

U.S. FDA Approves Evofem Biosciences’ Phexxi™, the First Non-Hormonal Prescription Gel for the Prevention of Pregnancy

Evofem Biosciences via PRNewswire, May 22nd 2020 

Evofem Biosciences, Inc. today announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Phexxi™ (lactic acid, citric acid and potassium bitartrate) vaginal gel for the prevention of pregnancy in females of reproductive potential for use as an on-demand method of contraception.

Phexxi is the first non-hormonal, on-demand, vaginal pH regulator contraceptive designed to maintain vaginal pH within the normal range of 3.5 to 4.5 – an acidic environment that is inhospitable to sperm.

Nurse Practitioner (s100) Prescribing Change

Hepatitis Australia, 3 April 2020

Hepatitis Australia warmly welcomes recent changes to the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) allowing authorised Nurse Practitioners to prescribe hepatitis B and hepatitis C medicines under the Highly Specialised Drugs (s100) Program.

Both hepatitis B and hepatitis C are under-treated and without improvement in a range of areas Australia risks falling short of agreed national and global viral hepatitis elimination goals. Expanded access to timely treatment and care is a critical component of the national response.

This important development acknowledges the clinical expertise of Nurse Practitioners and the therapeutic relationships they develop and maintain with highly stigmatised and often vulnerable populations.

Under previous arrangements, authorised Nurse Practitioners were able to prescribe treatments for hepatitis B and hepatitis C under the PBS General Schedule (s85). Where Nurse Practitioners were available in primary care services, this arrangement enhanced access to antiviral therapies in community settings.

From 1 April 2020, authorised Nurse Practitioners are also able to prescribe hepatitis B and hepatitis C treatments under the Highly Specialised Drugs (s100) Program. This matters because some people are not able to access primary care settings. The change therefore improves the availability of treatment for vulnerable populations such as people living in remote and regional areas, people experiencing homelessness, and people in custodial settings.

Hepatitis Australia congratulates the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee for recommending this important change, and we thank our colleagues at ASHM (Australasian Society for HIV, Viral Hepatitis and Sexual Health Medicine) for their leadership in this matter.

Community members in need of more information about hepatitis B and hepatitis C may wish to contact 1800 437 222 (1800 HEP ABC). This National Hepatitis Infoline directs callers to the community-based hepatitis organisation in the relevant state or territory.

ASHM’s “Find a Prescriber” function helps community members find a Doctor or Nurse Practitioner who has attended ASHM’s hepatitis training. People can also speak to their GP about treatment.

https://ashm.org.au/news/pbac-endorse-np-prescribing-for-hepatitis-b-hepatitis-c-and-hiv-medicines/

and

http://www.pbs.gov.au/info/news/2020/04/authorised-nurse-practitioners-now-eligible-to-prescribe

—————————————————————————————————————

The above information was found here 

Information about TRUVADA and ATRIPLA delisting

Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations (AFAO), March 30th 2020

From 1 April 2020 Truvada for HIV treatment and for pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) will no longer be available through the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS).

There are alternatives to Truvada for PrEP in Australia.

Community members eligible for PrEP can access generic versions of Truvada supplied by Apotex, Mylan and Lupin Generic Health. The drugs manufactured by these three suppliers contain the same active ingredients as Truvada.

In addition, from October 2020 Atripla will be delisted. A generic equivalent of Atripla has been approved by the PBS for community members who wish to continue using Atripla.

We encourage you to talk to your prescribing doctor if you want more information about these changes.

For more information, visit the following websites:

Emergency contraception awareness in an at‐risk population

Hope, D. L., Hattingh, L. and King, M. A. (2019) J Pharm Pract Res. doi:10.1002/jppr.1554

Background

Consumer awareness of emergency contraception is generally poor. School leavers (schoolies) engage in risky behaviours, including casual sex and alcohol and drug consumption.

Aim

The aim of this study was to explore the awareness of an at‐risk population of schoolies regarding the use and availability of emergency contraception.

Methods

An electronic survey was self‐administered by participants using Wi‐Fi‐connected iPads at the Schoolies Wristband Distribution Centre, Surfers Paradise, on the first day of Queensland Schoolies Week, November 2017. Outcomes measured were awareness of the availability of emergency contraception from a pharmacy, maximum time for effective use following unprotected intercourse and whether emergency contraception is harmful to the health of the user.

Results

Schoolies completed 498 valid surveys. Most (83.5%) were aged 17 years and 50.8% were aware that emergency contraception is available from community pharmacies with prescription and 36.7% were aware that it is available without prescription; 18.5% were aware of the 72‐ or 120‐h effectiveness window and 38.0% agreed that it is not harmful. All questions were associated with considerable uncertainty. Females were 1.8‐ to 3.2‐fold more likely than males to provide an appropriate response to any emergency contraception statement.

Conclusion

Schoolies’ awareness of emergency contraception availability, effectiveness window and safety was low. At‐risk schoolies may not access emergency contraception when indicated due to fear of harm, uncertainty about its effectiveness window or a lack of knowledge about timely non‐prescription access from community pharmacies. Targeted education may improve current knowledge gaps. The misnomer ‘morning‐after pill’ should be abandoned for the clinically appropriate term ‘emergency contraception.

 

International consensus on testosterone treatment for women

Jean Hailes, 2 September 2019

The first Global Position Statement on the use of testosterone in the treatment of women, led by the International Menopause Society (IMS), was published in four leading international medical journals today.

The statement has been authored by a diverse team of leading experts based around the world and has been endorsed by internationally-esteemed medical societies.

It follows years of debate regarding testosterone therapy for women and, for the first time, provides agreement among experts and medical societies about how testosterone could be prescribed for women.

Access the statement: