News & Updates
A statement from Professor Paul Kelly, Australian Government Chief Medical Officer, about the standard of care on COVID-19 oral antiviral treatments in residential aged care facilities.
News & Updates
More than 1.3 million Australians received a diabetes diagnosis between 2000 and 2020, according to Diabetes: Australian facts from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).
Around 63,900 people are diagnosed with diabetes each year, an average of 175 diagnoses a day. This includes type 1, type 2 and other types of diabetes, but excludes gestational diabetes.
Diabetes is a chronic condition marked by high levels of glucose in the blood. It is caused either by the inability to produce insulin (a hormone made by the pancreas to keep blood glucose levels in range) or by the body not being able to use insulin effectively, or both.
For the first time, linked National Diabetes Services Scheme and Australasian Paediatric Endocrine Group state-based registry data has been used to show the sheer impact of diabetes on the Australian population by capturing a clear time series from 2000 to 2020.
‘The report primarily covers type 1, type 2, and gestational diabetes. Overall, the number of people living with diabetes almost tripled between 2000 and 2020 from 460,000 to 1.3 million representing 2.4% to 4.3% of the population (age-standardised). Numbers have stabilised in the last decade, however, 1 in 20 Australians were living with the condition in 2020,’ said AIHW spokesperson Richard Juckes.
Type 2 diabetes comprises over 90% of diabetes cases in Australia, for which there were more than 48,000 people diagnosed in 2020 and 1.2 million (4.5%) Australians living with the condition.
‘Diabetes increases the risk of health complications, including heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, blindness, and lower limb amputation. It is also frequently associated with other chronic health conditions,’ said Mr. Juckes.
In 2020, diabetes was the underlying cause of death in around 5,100 deaths (29% of diabetes deaths). In a further 12,300 deaths (71% of diabetes deaths), diabetes itself did not lead directly to death, but was one of the complications of other diseases, such as cancer, coronary heart disease and stroke.
Diabetes is one of many conditions correlated with greater health consequences for people with COVID-19. Of the 4,700 hospitalisations involving a COVID-19 diagnosis in 2020–21, 20% of admitted patients had type 2 diabetes. Similarly, diabetes was a pre-existing condition in 20% of the 3,600 deaths due to COVID-19 between January 2020 and March 2022.
‘The prevalence of diabetes varies depending on where people live. After adjusting for age, Australians living in Remote and Very remote areas were 1.3 times more likely to be living with diabetes and 1.8 times more likely to die with diabetes compared to those living in Major cities,’ Mr. Juckes said.
An estimated $3.0 billion of health system expenditure was attributed to diabetes in 2018–19, representing 2.3% of total disease expenditure in Australia.
The report includes real life case studies based on interviews. While these personal accounts are not necessarily representative of the circumstances of others and do not contain medical advice, they offer valuable insights into the diversity of people’s experiences with diabetes.
News & Updates
Residential aged care facilities which adopt Webstercare‘s National Residential Medication Chart (eNRMC) MedCare platform will now be able to access a funding pool of up to $30 million, after the Australian Digital Health Agency confirmed the eNRMC meets the transitional conformance guidelines.
The Government has introduced the funding as part of the ‘Supporting Medication Management in Residential Aged Care’ Initiative, in order to address widespread issues associated with medication management in residential aged care services.
According to Webstercare Managing Director, Gerard Stevens, the Government’s decision to incentivise widespread adoption of electronic medication management systems in aged care was prompted by a key finding that emerged from the Royal Commission into Quality and Aged Care.
“Having one overarching fully paperless system - one source of truth - to manage the prescribing, dispensing, administration and ongoing management of medication in aged care settings can significantly reduce risk and minimise the need for unnecessary paperwork,” Stevens said.
“The MedCare system is an exciting development and manages the whole prescribing process.
“For facilities using RxMedChart, MedSig or interested in MedCare, the transition to the fully digital system is seamless.”
There will be three rounds of funding opportunities between $7,000 and $22,000, depending on eligibility, from Jul 2022 until Dec 2024, with grant amounts decreasing with each subsequent round.
The funding can used for eNRMC software solutions and subscriptions; hardware purchases or upgrades; training and change management; and other expenditure related to the sourcing and implementation of eNRMC solutions.
For more information on how to adopt the MedCare eNRMC and access the funding, call 1800 244 358 or email email@example.com
News & Updates
Residential aged care services are required to submit a notification report of a COVID-19 outbreak or exposure via the COVID-19 Support portal.
The department has made enhancements to the notification form to streamline reporting by residential aged care services.
The improved form for reporting COVID-19 outbreaks or exposures will be available from today.
The enhancements include:
Requests for PPE in response to a COVID-19 outbreak will be managed through the outbreak or notification form, and the functionality to request PPE outside of a COVID-19 exposure or outbreak will be removed.
No new data fields have been added to the notification form.
Current outbreak or exposure notifications will automatically transition to the new template.
The updates will upload today between 1:00pm and 2:00pm AEST. Users may experience disruptions to the outbreak and exposure forms during this period.
New resources available
Resources are now available shortly to assist you to transition to the streamlined COVID-19 outbreak or exposure reporting template changes, including:
News & Updates
Congratulations to our newly accredited Pharmacists
News & Updates
Latest medical advice on surviving the great outdoors.
Taco slurries and burrito wraps. These are just two of the recommendations outlined in the newest edition of the Wilderness Medicine guidelines, which looks at how to prevent, prepare for and manage injuries incurred from being exposed to the great outdoors. Justin Coleman chats to Charmaine Tate, Chief medical officer of the NZ Defence Force, about how to deal with tick bites, temperature stress, altitude illness, diving injuries, drowning and lightning strikes.
Listen or read the transcript HERE.
News & Updates
Healthcare professionals must work together to support people with ID to access safe and high-quality health care services. Management of medical conditions for people with ID is at a lower rate than the general population. Medicines such as antipsychotics which are inappropriately used as a restrictive practice can contribute to adverse effects. Medical practitioners, pharmacists and allied health professionals must be proactive with respect to medicine safety for this cohort. Interdisciplinary approaches are needed to address this systemic problem that has culminated in this disparity.
This webinar has been developed in collaboration with Summit Health, SACID and is funded by CSAPHN as part of the Connect-Able Project. This project aims to grow the awareness and build the confidence of health professionals and those who work in healthcare support services to better support people with intellectual disability in the community.
Presented by a rehabilitation specialist and a pharmacist, with expertise and experience in supporting people with ID, this webinar will explain the considerations that need to be taken when providing healthcare to people with ID. It will also explore medication-related issues commonly encountered in those with ID and how to address them through medication management services and the skills of the interdisciplinary healthcare team.
Use this link for more information and to register
Integrate targeted screening, early detection, and diagnosis of chronic kidney disease (CKD) into your clinical practice to slow or prevent deterioration in kidney function and improve cardiovascular outcomes of your patients.
Click HERE to read this article from NPS MedicineWise
Despite all the questions about the rebound phenomenon, “the biggest challenge we’re having with the drug is it’s not being used as frequently as it should,” del Rio said. “Primary care physicians are freaked out about the drug-drug interactions.” The people in whom COVID-19 is most likely to progress to a serious or even deadly infection are also the ones most likely to be taking multiple medications, he noted.
Click HERE to read this report from JAMA.
Solid oral dosage forms (SODFs), (often called pills by patients) are the default formulation to treat medical ailments. Beneficial therapeutic outcomes rely on patients taking them as directed. Up to 40% of the population experience difficulties swallowing SODFs, resulting in reduced adherence and impaired therapeutic efficacy. Often associated with children, this also presents in adults with dysphagia, and without any organic dysphagia (non-physiological-related or functional dysphagia).
This review aims to identify and appraise current interventions used to identify and overcome pill aversion in adults with functional dysphagia. As per the protocol - PROSPERO (CRD42021227095), a comprehensive search of the literature was conducted. Articles reporting pill aversion in adults - aged 18 years+ with no underlying cause, history of, or existing dysphagia were included. Study quality was determined using the STROBE tool for observational studies. A narrative synthesis of the findings was prepared.
The authors identified 18 relevant cohort studies; these demonstrate that pill aversion is a global problem. Perceived ease of and/or SODF swallowability appears to be influenced by female gender, younger age, co-morbidities e.g. depression, and physical SODF properties. Patients often modify their medicines rather than raise this issue with their healthcare team. Screening for pill aversion is haphazard but controlled postural adjustments, coating SODFs and behavioural interventions appear to be successful solutions. SODF swallowing difficulties are a barrier to effective medication use.
Healthcare professionals must recognise that pill aversion is a problem requiring identification through effective screening and resolution by training interventions, appropriate formulation selection, or specialist referral.
Albuminuria is useful for early screening and diagnosis of kidney impairment, especially in people with pre-diabetes or type 2 diabetes (T2D), which is the leading cause of chronic kidney disease (CKD) and end-stage kidney disease (ESKD), associated with increased mortality, poor cardiovascular outcomes, and high economic burden. Identifying patients with CKD who are most likely to progress to ESKD permits timely implementation of appropriate interventions. The early stages of CKD are asymptomatic, which means identification of CKD relies on routine assessment of kidney damage and function. Both albuminuria and estimated glomerular filtration rate are measures of kidney function.
This review discusses albuminuria as a marker of kidney damage and cardiorenal risk, highlights the importance of early screening and routine testing for albuminuria in people with T2D, and provides new insights on the optimum management of CKD in T2D using albuminuria as a target in a proposed algorithm. Elevated urine albumin can be used to detect CKD in people with T2D and monitor its progression; however, obstacles preventing early detection exist, including lack of awareness of CKD in the general population, poor adherence to clinical guidelines, and country-level variations in screening and treatment incentives.
With albuminuria being used as an entry criterion and a surrogate endpoint for kidney failure in clinical trials, and with novel treatment interventions available to prevent CKD progression, there is an urgent need for early screening and diagnosis of kidney function decline in people with T2D or pre-diabetes.
Many prescribed medicines can impair driving skills, at any age. Each year in Australia approximately 250 people aged 65 and over die from road crashes and approximately 4000 more are hospitalised. Older people are more likely to have comorbidities and require multiple medicines. Of particular concern in relation to driving are psychoactive medicines and other psychoactive substances including alcohol and other drugs. Alcohol, cannabis, opioids, gabapentinoids (pregabalin, gabapentin), stimulants and sedating medicines such as benzodiazepines are the substances of greatest concern in road safety. Patients who have complex medical conditions and take multiple medicines should be assessed for safety to drive a motor vehicle. Pharmacists have an important role to assess the impact of medicines on driving and other motor skills and counsel patients about the risks.
Cardiovascular disease is the leading contributor to years lost due to disability or premature death among adults. Current efforts focus on risk prediction and risk factor mitigation‚ which have been recognized for the past half-century. However, despite advances, risk prediction remains imprecise with persistently high rates of incident cardiovascular disease. Genetic characterization has been proposed as an approach to enable earlier and potentially tailored prevention. Rare mendelian pathogenic variants predisposing to cardiometabolic conditions have long been known to contribute to disease risk in some families.
However, twin, and familial aggregation studies imply that diverse cardiovascular conditions are heritable in the general population. Significant technological and methodological advances since the Human Genome Project are facilitating population-based comprehensive genetic profiling at decreasing costs. Genome-wide association studies from such endeavours continue to elucidate causal mechanisms for cardiovascular diseases. Systematic cataloguing for cardiovascular risk alleles also enabled the development of polygenic risk scores. Genetic profiling is becoming widespread in large-scale research, including in health care–associated biobanks, randomized controlled trials, and direct-to-consumer profiling in tens of millions of people. Thus, individuals and their physicians are increasingly presented with polygenic risk scores for cardiovascular conditions in clinical encounters.
In this scientific statement, the authors review the contemporary science, clinical considerations, and future challenges for polygenic risk scores for cardiovascular diseases. They selected 5 cardiometabolic diseases (coronary artery disease, hypercholesterolemia, type 2 diabetes, atrial fibrillation, and venous thromboembolic disease) and response to drug therapy and offer provisional guidance to health care professionals, researchers, policymakers, and patients.
The serotonin hypothesis of depression is still influential. The authors of this paper aimed to synthesise and evaluate evidence on whether depression is associated with lowered serotonin concentration or activity in a systematic umbrella review of the principal relevant areas of research.
The main areas of serotonin research provide no consistent evidence of there being an association between serotonin and depression, and no support for the hypothesis that depression is caused by lowered serotonin activity or concentrations. Some evidence was consistent with the possibility that long-term antidepressant use reduces serotonin concentration.
Is changing my biological medicine to a biosimilar an option for me? Will I need extra test or checks? These are some of the questions people are asking about biological medicines.
NPS MedicineWise has launched a new hub of information about biosimilar medicines. There is a lot of information about these medicines online and people often find it confusing and hard to know what to trust. The NPS MedicineWise hub brings together trusted sources of information into one place.
Biological medicines, also known as biologics, are complex medicines made using living cells. They treat inflammatory conditions of the joints, bowel and skin. They are also used to treat diabetes, some cancers and other conditions.
The nature of biologics means they cannot be copied exactly. Biosimilar medicines are very close, but not exact copies of an original biological medicine. Research shows they are as safe as the original biological medicines. They work in the same way and have the same effects.
Dr Jonathan Dartnell, Clinical Programs Manager at NPS MedicineWise says there is a lot of information about medicines on the internet. Making sure the information is reliable is key, especially when you are starting a new medicine. Knowing where to start looking for this can be hard.
“Many people may not have heard of biosimilar medicines before, even though they are not new. These medicines are on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme for more conditions now. This new hub has links to good, trusted sources in one place, that is easy to find,” he says.
Sources include groups like Arthritis Australia, CreakyJoints Australia and Crohn’s and Colitis Australia. It brings together resources developed by NPS MedicineWise and Generic Biosimilar Medicines Association (GBMA). There are links to information from the Australian Government Department of Health.
“The information available helps answer common questions about biosimilars such as what they are and how they work, which ones are available in Australia and what you need to know if changing to a biosimilar,” he says.
“People should use this information to talk with their health professional. Understanding more about biologics and biosimilar medicines can help people get the most from them.”
Information on the hub includes questions to ask doctors and pharmacists, such as:
For more information visit nps.org.au/biosimilars-for-consumers
Recent hospitalisation influenced the relative importance of treatment attributes, with effectiveness on hearing voices being the most important treatment attribute. The most important long-term goals were having a stable place to live, being independent, and physical health. People with schizophrenia care about their long-term functional recovery outcomes, rating symptom control and independence as their highest priority. They want to be part of the treatment conversation with their doctors. Therefore, psychiatrists are encouraged to use shared decision-making to establish the treatment course that best aligns with individuals’ long-term goals.